London Palestine Film Festival
babelmed - 17/04/2008
The London Palestine Film Festival is still the largest of its kind, this year the Festival programme includes more than 50 works related to the question of Palestine by artists from across the globe working in every genre of film and video production.
As the Festival falls on the 60th anniversary of the Palestinian Nakba (“catastrophe”) of 1948, several special sessions have been programmed to address questions of oral history and memory in cinema, as well as of refugee rights and the ongoing struggles of Israel’s Palestinian population. These include the opening session, featuring a short (45min) screening of oral history documentation projects from Israel and Lebanon, followed by a panel discussion on methods, challenges, and goals of oral history video work on the Palestinian Nakba.
Also reflecting this anniversary, Homeland Lost, a photographic exhibition by Alan Gignoux, will open on Wednesday 16 April in the Barbican Cinema 1 Foyer1. Juxtaposing portraits of Palestinian exiles with present day images of the places they left in 1948 as a result of the war that led to the creation of Israel, Gignoux’s work provides an antidote to a western media saturated with images of exiled Palestinians as either extremists or victims, portraying instead individuals trying to build a life for themselves in complex circumstances.
In all, more than 20 filmmakers, writers, academics, and activists will be in attendance for a series of Q & A sessions and panel discussions on issues ranging from Water and the Conflict, via Lebanon in the Summer of 2006, through to Minorities and Britain’s Judicial System in the Wake of July 7th 2005.
Keynote speakers will include Festival patron and award-winning novelist Ahdaf Soueif, leading UK-rights lawyer Garreth Pierce, and scholars Ilan Pappe, Karma Nabulsi, Sabry Hafez, Tony Allen, and Mark Zeitoun. Filmmakers will be in attendance throughout the Festival and rarely-screened classic works such as Chris Marker’s seminal A Grin Without a Cat: Scenes From the Third World War, 1967-1977 will compliment a program built around world and UK premiers of striking new documentary and experimental work from a growing number of Palestinian and international artists.
Special Live Highlights of the London Palestine Film Festival 2008
As the 2008 London Palestine Film Festival occurs in the year of the 60th anniversary of the Nakba (“catastrophe”) of 1948, which saw the expulsion and dispossession of some 750,000 Palestinians from the lands which became Israel, several screenings and live events have been programmed to highlight historic and contemporary issues concerning Palestinian refugees and their right to return. Nakba-themed events include the opening session on oral-history documentation (screenings and a panel discussion), two adaptations of classic novellas by Palestinian author Ghassan Kanafani (Return to Haifa and The Dupes), and a special closing screening and panel discussion on the “ongoing Nakba” which deals with ongoing patterns of discrimination, expulsion, and exclusion within Palestine today.
In addition to these highlights, special sessions or double-bills in this year’s Festival focus on Palestinians in the Israeli Settlement-Construction Industry; Lebanon in the Summer of 2006; Jerusalem – An All-Day Session (4 films); and Football Sunday (2 films on Palestinian soccer teams).
The Festival is also delighted to offer a rare screening of Chris Marker’s (Sans Soleil & La Jettee) rarely seen but seminal film essay on the “rise and fall” of the global New Left in the late 1960s and 1970s. A Grin Without A Cat: Scenes from the Third World War, 1967-1977 is Marker’s epic elegy to the vicissitudes of revolution, and is screened this year to mark the 40th anniversary of the events of Paris May 1968 (showing Wednesday April 23rd, Barbican, Cinema 3, 19:45).