Shashat 3 - Women’s Film Festival in Palestine | Heba Faisal Zoebi
Shashat 3 - Women’s Film Festival in Palestine
Heba Faisal Zoebi   
Shashat 3 - Women’s Film Festival in Palestine | Heba Faisal ZoebiShashat focuses on women's cinema and the social and cultural implications of women's representations. It also manages the festival Shashat 3 Women’s film festival in Palestine , that ran from November 1 to November 7,2007 in four cities, Ramalah, Nablus,Bethlehem and Jerusulem. It focuses, in particular on raising public awareness about women's creativity and the implications of representations of women.

The Indian film Water was presented during the opening ceremony. It is directed by Indian director Deepa Mehta. A very moving and beautifully made film, it was nominated to the Academy Awards for Best Foreign Film in 2005 as a Canadian submission. Water constitutes the third part of director Deepa Mehta’s trilogy: it was preceded by Fire, (1966) and Earth, 1998. Water is set in 1938 India during Mahatma Gandhi’s struggle against British occupation. The film follows the story of Chuyia, an 8-year old widow, who is sent to a home where widows live in penitence, and her relationship to the other widows in the house. The film merges the anti-colonial national liberation struggle with the struggle for social equity, especially for women.

The Lebanese film A perfect Day, 2006 directed by Joana Hadjithomas&Khalil Joreige, was the winner of the PRIX FIPRSCI at Locarno International Film Festival, 2006. It depicts 24 hours in the life of Malek in Beirut. Claudia’s husband (his mother) was one of 17,000 people who disappeared during the Lebanese war. 15 years later the courts are finally ready to declare him dead, but she’s not ready to say goodbye, even as her narcoleptic 26-year-old son starts pulling away from her overprotective embrace.

The Turkish film Benda Sira (It’s my turn) 11 mins,2007 directed by Ismet Erguen tells about a group of children who all share their pocket-money so that each day one of them can go to the cinema. Then one day they are all able to go together. Or almost…..

The director Hala Khalil is one of the few women directors working in Egypt that can be considered an auteur. She came with her film Cut & Paste .2006. She has a penetrating look when considering the problems faced by unemployed youth and their desperate attempt to find a job. Jamila, who comes from a middle-class family, is in a state of rebellion as she searches for any profession or job. With all doors closed in her face, she decides to emigrate to New Zealand. She meets Yussef who is also considering emigrating and the two of them strike a deal which will make it possible for them to emigrate. But circumstances make the deal take an unpredictable turn…

The Spanish documentary film Extranjeras (foreign women) , 2004 that directed by Helena Taberna tries to explore what is the life of immigrant women like in Madrid. What happens to their dreams when they immigrate - are they realized or are they shattered? How do the women change in their identities and feelings towards their original homeland and their new one, and how do they experience their daily lives? It’s explores these issues through the work and home life of several immigrant women.

The Chinese film How is your Fish Today? 2006, by director Xiaolu Guo ,was awarded the Grand Jury Prize for best feature fiction film, at the International Women Film Festival of Creteil in 2007 and got a special mention, Rotterdam Film Festival 2007. In this masterpiece of cinematic writing, a young man in southern China has killed his lover. He starts a lonely escape across the whole country towards his land of wonder, a snowy village at the northern border between China and Russia. Old villagers fish under the ice, school children study an English text about America. They endure the long winter nights waiting for the sun to come back. Sitting at his desk in Beijing, a scriptwriter is writing that man’s story. His imagination blurs the boundaries between reality and fiction. When the scriptwriter arrives in that mysterious village, he meets his own fictional character, lying on the frozen river at the border, covered in snow. Two men contemplate the icy landscape. One wants to cross the border to see the other side of the world. The other longs to head back to his hometown, which he left so many years ago.

Director Rana Kazak comes from the U.S , but carries a Palestinian background. Her film Kemo Sabe 2006 shows Yussef, a 6-year old Arab-American boy, who dreams of being the Cowboy instead of the Indian on the playground. Daring to challenge the role his race has determined, Yussef learns the playground rules of becoming a Cowboy. But is being a Cowboy everything Yussef hoped it would be?

The director Susan Jacobson from the United Kingdom came with her film One Hundredth of a Second 2006 , This moving film is about a war photographer facing the ultimate dilemma of her profession: if a person is in mortal danger, do you continue to do your job by taking pictures or do you get involved and help?

From Germany, Pool of princesses , 2007 directed by Bettina Blumner tells about three teenage girls, from immigrant background, Klara, Mina and Tanutscha, who have known each other since Kindergarden and spend the summer at a large open-air swimming pool in their working class neighbourhood. The film explores how the three girls use their friendship to make up for everything that is so painfully absent from their lives at home. They learn how to win respect and find a way to cut their own path through life. The film is noteworthy for its dramatic style which captures the vitality of documentary, blurring the lines between these two genres.

Heba Faisal Zoebi
(08/11/2007)