Palestine’s long struggle for freedom shown on film

The Union of Greek Filmmakers has turned its attention to the crisis in the Middle East with a tribute to Palestine at the Trianon Filmcenter in Athens, to be accompanied by a series of other events at the Pedion tou Areos park. The weeklong tribute, titled «Intifada and Film,» commences on Friday and runs until June 13, and will feature 18 selected films and round-table discussions with Palestinian and local artists, as well as journalists and political analysts. This is the first time an event of this nature has been held in Greece and its broader aims are to show the course of the Palestinian struggle for self-determination as reflected in films – both fictional and documentary. The film tribute will start at the Trianon on Friday at 8.30 p.m. with an introduction by Palestinian Ambassador to Greece Abdullah Abdullah, visiting Palestinian artists and Greek officials. This will be followed by a concert at Pedion tou Areos with Palestinian singer Rim Kilani and local artists Yiota Vei, as well as traditional songs and dances by the Palestinian community in Greece. (These events will be repeated throughout the week.) Screenings start on Saturday evening with «My Very Private Map» by Sobhi Zubaidi, a retrospective on ideological change in Palestine from 1948 to the present day, followed by «Dreams and Silences,» by Omar Al-Quattan, and «Haifa,» a 1996 film by Rashid Masharawi that reflects on the ideological gap between generations of Palestinians. An open discussion will follow, while at 10 p.m., director Michel Khleifi will introduce his films «Maaloul» and «Wedding in Galilee,» which he will also discuss with the audience later. At the Pedion tou Areos, five Greek actors will read extracts from leading Palestinian theatrical and poetic works, an event that will be repeated on Monday evening. Sunday’s events start with a large one-day conference in the park, featuring academics, artists and political authorities, on the history of the plight of the Palestinian people and the current situation in the Middle East. Screenings start at 6.30 p.m. with award-winning director Mai Masri’s «Frontiers of Dreams and Fears,» followed by a second showing of «Wedding in Galilee,» while at 10 p.m., director Rashid Masharawi will introduce his documentary film «Live from Palestine» – concerning the 2001 and 2002 Israeli bombing of the Voice of Palestine radio station – and the ensuing award-winning «Chronicle of a Disappearance» by Elia Suleiman. On Monday, the festival pays tribute to women with screenings of Masri’s «Children of Fire,» Azza al Hassan’s «News Time,» Antonia Kasia’s «Stories of Honor and Shame,» Liana Badr’s «Green Bird,» al Hassan’s «Title Deeds from Moses,» Kasia’s «On Our Land» and a second screening of «Frontiers of Dreams and Fears.» The focus turns to children on Tuesday with «Child Testimony: Stop Bombing Bethlehem» – a documentary film by Hayan Yacoub that shows childrens’ perceptions of the war – «Our Deams… When» and «God Forbid!» by Hisham Kayed, «Near Death» by Abdel Salam Shehadeh, the incisive «Children of Shatila» by Masri, «Lamma Zaffouk» by Eyas Natour and «Bethlehem 2000» by Suleiman, Masri, al Hassan and Sobhi Zubeidi, as well as second screenings of «My Very Private Map» and «Live from Palestine.» Screenings will continue to Wednesday with second showings from previous nights, ending on Thursday with a special awards ceremony. Proceeds from all ticket sales will go in aid of the medical missions in the Palestinian territories.

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