Society / Palestine
AISHEEN – Still Alive in Gaza
babelmed - 17/05/2010
A documentary depicting the suffering of Palestinians after the Israeli offensive in 2008, has won the forum prize of the Ecumenical Jury at the Berlin International Film Festival.
A film by Nicolas Wadimoff with the collaboration of Beatrice Guelpa
2010, Qatar/Switzerland, 85 minutes
In Arabic, with English and French subtitles.
AISHEEN – Still Alive in Gaza is the latest documentary film by the Swiss filmmaker, Nicolas Wadimoff. The film depicts the suffering of Palestinians in Gaza after the Israeli offensive in 2008 without sticking to the stereotype images that media often promotes. The film has won the forum prize of the Ecumenical Jury at the Berlin International Film Festival last February 2010.
Aisheen was produced by Al Jazeera Children's Channel (JCC) and co-produced and directed by Nicolas Wadimoff.
“Where is the ghost town?” inquires the little boy. "It's there, right there….but it has been bombed. Do you want to see it?” asks the theme park attendant. It is with these words that the film, AISHEEN, Still Alive in Gaza, begins its impressionist journey through a devastated Gaza after the war.
As for the ghost town, Gaza is the ghost town with clowns armed with rubber balloons trying to make children forget the bombing, a beached whale "as big as a building" that feeds thoughts rotting on the shore, a scrawny then stuffed lion bizarrely hanging in a cage at a zoo as if it were a trophy, and dozens of empty gas cylinders lined up at the side of a road covered in sand.
AISHEEN, Still Alive in Gaza tells the story about the wait after the disaster. The wait for a better future inside the biggest prison in the world where planes still prowl around above the heads of its people, bombings don't stop, men and women roam around in the ruins, and fishermen savour the only fish caught by their nets in this now forbidden sea. Amidst all of this pain, suffering, lack of resources and support, families struggle to pick up the pieces. From a family of farmers lamenting the past while gathering wood from the 56 olive trees that have been their livelihood for generations, a mother dressing the wounds of her son who dreams of becoming a martyr to an adolescent who is discretely mourning her mother.
Through encounters in these elsewhere ordinary places, the film portrays a different Gaza; a Gaza in which everything takes on a different meaning. Poetic and surreal, at times, the film questions the meaning of life and the reality that men, women, children and youth are facing on a daily basis while simply trying to survive.
Condemned to living under atrocious conditions where basic human rights are denied and death is believed to be around the corner, the residents of Gaza stand up to it all and aim to rebuild it brick by brick. Finally, repaired, the carousel at the theme park once again goes round and round. In the background, Gaza’s buildings are deformed and become a blur, making one feel faint; this is only a brief reflection of what people in Gaza feel every day. Nevertheless, their resilience is undeniable, and they are Still Alive “Aisheen”.
“We want peace! We need freedom! We don’t want Violence! Hear our call”, rap the Palestinian group DARG Team.
AISHEEN Still Alive in Gaza is a tribute to life - to freedom and against injustice.
The film will be released in France on the 26th of May and screened during Hotdocs Film Festival on the 6th of June, North America. ( http://www.hotdocs.ca ).
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