10th Annual Chicago Palestine Film Festival
- 10th Annual Chicago Palestine Film Festival
From April 15 through 27, the Gene Siskel Film Center collaborates with the Chicago Palestine Film Festival to present the tenth annual festival representing the spirit and mood of contemporary Palestinian life. This festival is dedicated to exhibiting film and video work that is open, critical, and reflective of the culture, experience, and vision of the artists.
The festival opens on April 15 with ZAHARA, Mohammad Bakri's evocative portrait of his 80-year-old aunt, accompanied by two short films by Basma Alsharif. We are pleased to announce that the celebrated actor-director Elia Suleiman will be here on closing night, April 27, to present his latest film, THE TIME THAT REMAINS.
This year's festival is made possible in part through the support of the Crossroads Fund, the Illinois Arts Council, a State Agency, and individual contributions. For their invaluable cooperation, the Gene Siskel Film Center thanks the members of the Chicago Palestine Film Festival Committee.
- Opening Night
- 2009, Mohammad Bakri, Palestine, 63 min.
THE STORY OF MILK AND HONEY
- 2009, Basma Alsharif, Lebanon, 10 min.
WE BEGAN BY MEASURING DISTANCE
- 2009, Basma Alsharif, Egypt, 19 min.
In ZAHARA, through evocative imagery and poetic narration, director and prolific actor Bakri (LEILA’S BIRTHDAY, PRIVATE) creates a portrait of his 80-year-old aunt that subtly works as a meditation on the repeating patterns of history. The chronicle of the Palestinian troubles plays out in Zahara’s life, from her forced walk to Lebanon in 1948, to the untimely death of her husband, which left her to raise ten children alone, and yet Bakri’s emphasis is not on affliction but on the beauty and enduring strength of a mother. In Arabic with English subtitles. Beta SP video.
Preceded by two shorts. THE STORY OF MILK AND HONEY plays with sound, text, image, and absence of image, when a filmmaker attempting to write a love story is sidetracked by his obsession with history and memory. In WE BEGAN BY MEASURING DISTANCE, a conceptual art piece creates a metaphor for “a history that is no longer within reach.” Both in Arabic with English subtitles, and in Mini-DV video. (BS)
- Closing Night Film
Closing night film!
- THE TIME THAT REMAINS
- 2009, Elia Suleiman, UK/Italy/Belgium/France, 109 min.
- With Ali Suliman, Elia Suleiman, Saleh Bakri
“[An] exquisite balance of visual rigor and heartfelt emotion...remarkable.”
—A.O. Scott, The New York Times
“Will stick with me for the rest of my movie-going life...the eventual emotional payoff is tremendous.”
—Andrew O’Hehir, Salon.com
Award-winning director Elia Suleiman (DIVINE INTERVENTION, CHRONICLE OF A DISAPPEARANCE) employs his delicately ironic brand of absurdity to tell the semi-autobiographical story of one middle-class Arab Christian family living in Nazareth from 1948 to the present. The pure magic of many of Suleiman’s images, the mordant humor of his set pieces, and the poignancy of his family’s interface with history make this a unique chronicle life on Palestinian time. In Arabic, Hebrew, and English with English subtitles. Special advance screening courtesy of IFC Films. 35mm. (BS)
Update 4/26: Due to circumstances beyond our control, director Elia Suleiman will not be present for audience discussion as announced. We regret the inconvenience.
- GAZA ON AIR
- 2009, Samir Abdallah and Kheridine Mabrouk, Egypt/Palestine/France, 90 min.
A CHILD’S VIEW FROM GAZA
- 2010, Rajie Cook and Thomas Francisco, Palestine, 8 min.
GAZA ON AIR is a compendium of the coverage of Israel’s 2009 bombardment of Gaza that a group of Palestinian journalists and cameramen carried out clandestinely at a time when international press was barred from the area. In this daring footage, much of which has never been seen in the outside world, exceedingly graphic images of devastation, maiming, and death make clear the extent of the violation and horror. The film includes revealing interviews with the journalists themselves. In Arabic with English subtitles. DVCAM video. Note: Due to the explicit violence of the content, viewer discretion is advised.
Preceded by A CHILD’S VIEW FROM GAZA. Pictures heartbreakingly say more than a thousand words in this short made up of the drawings of Palestinian children, in which they depict their war-torn environment. English text, no dialogue. Mini-DV video. (BS)
- FIX ME
- 2009, Raed Andoni, Palestine/France/Switzerland, 98 min.
As chronicled in FIX ME, filmmaker Andoni’s migraines gradually become a metaphor for the ongoing conflict. Simultaneously quirky, funny, and yet deadly serious, the film maintains a focus on its director’s obsessive search for a headache cure by various strategies including psychoanalysis. The more the subject of the occupation is circumvented, the more clearly this deceptively laid-back diary seems to zero in on the immediacy of political realities as Andoni goes about his daily life or journeys through his past with his analyst. In Arabic with English subtitles. 35mm. (BS)
- JAFFA, THE ORANGE’S CLOCKWORK
- 2010, Eyal Sivan, Israel/France/Belgium/Germany, 88 min.
Just as apple pie is evoked as a comforting symbol of the American good life, the Jaffa orange has for more than a century reigned as the delectable hallmark of Middle Eastern bounty. This wide-ranging documentary considers the Israeli-Palestinian conflict from the point of view of a dispute over branding. From an analysis of early 20th-century educational films and newsreels focusing on Jaffa citrus to the weaving of the legend of Israel’s revival of the land, filmmaker Sivan examines how both East and West have politicized this most prized orange. In Hebrew, Arabic, French, and English with English subtitles. DigiBeta video. (BS)
- FRAGMENTS OF A LOST PALESTINE
- 2010, Norma Marcos, France/Palestine, 75 min.
Set in an elusive space between normalcy and nowhere, this very personal film journal records the dilemma of filmmaker Marcos, who holds both a French and a Palestinian passport, but is recognized as neither nationality by Israeli authorities. Initially trapped in a bureaucratic limbo when denied entry to Palestine to visit her ailing mother, she ultimately sees her victory in shaping a film around images of ordinary life as it is lived in its fullness by family and friends. In Arabic, English, Hebrew, and French with English subtitles. DVCAM video. (BS)
- INTO THE BELLY OF THE WHALE
- 2010, Hazim Bitar, Jordan/Palestine, 24 min.
- With Alabbas Saed, Leen Azam
138 POUNDS IN MY POCKET
- 2009, Sahera Dirbas, Palestine, 19 min.
- 2009, Muayad Alayan, Palestine, 20 min.
- With Mahmood Alayan, Rami Musa Alayan
- 2009, Yasmine Novak, Israel, 11 min.
In INTO THE BELLY OF THE WHALE, Younis, a young Palestinian who likens his smuggling job to a video game, sets out on his last run in a tunnel between Gaza and Egypt, but things don’t go as planned. In Arabic with English subtitles. HDCAM video.
138 POUNDS IN MY POCKET tells the remarkable story of the founding of Dar al-Tifl al-Arabi orphanage in 1948, by Palestinian teacher Hind al-Husseini, who took a group of children orphaned by a massacre into her home. In English and Arabic with English subtitles. Mini-DV video.
The two young lovers of LESH SABREEN find their dreams for the future thwarted, first by her father, and then by an encounter with an Israeli patrol. In Arabic with English subtitles. Beta SP video.
BUS chronicles the complications and the absurdity of traveling between Jerusalem’s Israeli and Palestinian neighborhoods via a combination of Israeli and Palestinian buses. In English Arabic, and Hebrew with English subtitles. DigiBeta video. (BS)
- LITTLE TOWN OF BETHLEHEM
- 2010, Jim Hanon, Palestine/Israel, 75 min.
Three men, a Christian, a Muslim, and a Jew, dedicate their lives to building peace between Palestine and Israel, inspired by the philosophies of Martin Luther King, Jr., and Mahatma Gandhi. Both scarred and shaped by the conflict, they come to their mission from diverse backgrounds: Al-Azzeh’s family was driven from their home in 1948, and live in camps to this day; Awad’s grandfather was killed by a sniper; and Shapira’s career in the Israeli army ended in disgrace when he refused to endanger civilians. In Arabic and English with English subtitles. DigiBeta video. (BS)
- SAZ: THE PALESTINIAN RAPPER FOR CHANGE
- 2005, Gil Karni, Palestine, 51 min.
INTO THE BELLY OF THE WHALE
- 2010, Hazim Bitar, Jordan/Palestine, 24 min.
- With Alabbas Saed, Leen Azam
- 2009, Amber Fares and Avi Goldstein, Israel, 11 min.
SAZ covers a transformative year in the life of rapper Sameh Zakout, who transitions from the obscurity of working in a Ramleh auto repair shop to international fame and sold-out concerts in London. In a parallel journey, Zakout questions his lifelong identification as an Israeli Arab, and comes to bond philosophically and artistically with his Palestinian roots. In Arabic and Hebrew with English subtitles. DigiBeta video.
Preceded by two shorts. In INTO THE BELLY OF THE WHALE, Younis, a young Palestinian who likens his smuggling job to a video game, sets out on his last run in a tunnel between Gaza and Egypt, but things don’t go as planned. In Arabic with English subtitles. HDCAM video.
GHETTO TOWN documents the rise of the rap group G-Town out of the violence, squalid conditions, and geographic limbo of Shu’afat refugee camp. In English and Arabic with English subtitles. DigiBeta video. (BS)