"How do people who have been stationed away from their ancestral land dream up an identity by constructing a mental landscape to pursue a sense of belonging through art, film, and heritage traditions?" That is the question that the Reel Palestine Film Festival begs to ask, and answers through its powerful screenings. Their website also explains that "the experience of a fragmented identity caught amid a complex battle is a surreal experience that many people, Palestinian or not, can relate to."
Relating is what cinema does best. On the big screen it points to our common similarities, thus doing away with what politics and borders try so hard to do -- separate humanity.
And no cinema does that better than what is made by Palestinian filmmakers, always at the vanguard and pushing the boundaries. US audiences will soon be lucky enough to witness Hany Abu Assad's latest oeuvre Huda's Salon, pictured above, which is simply breathtaking and is not only a work that lives outside the typical box of what Palestinian cinema is supposed to portray, it blows that box up and reconstructs with its frame a whole new pathway to moving forward for the entire region.
It's probably the reason the film wasn't screened in Cannes or Venice...
Luckily, the film will screen at Cinema Akil in Dubai during the upcoming festival and is one not to be missed. As are Little Palestine, Diary of a Siege, a documentary by Abdallah Al-Khatib, Farha directed by Darin J. Sallam and the short Layl (Night) by Ahmad Saleh, voiced by Palestinian legend Hiam Abbass.
For the full programme and more information about this great event check out their website.
For more information on Cinema Akil and their year-round programmes, visit their website.