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Palestinian films come to the fore during festival.

Byline: This year's Dubai International Film Festival is set to showcase innovative, powerful and unique Palestinian films.

Dubai: This year's Dubai International Film Festival is set to showcase innovative, powerful and unique Palestinian films.

On December 12 at the Dubai Media City amphitheatre, Palestinian hip hop will come alive with the showing of Slingshot Hip Hop, a debut feature documentary from American-Palestinian filmmaker Jackie Salloum.

The film follows young Palestinians living in the West Bank, Gaza and inside Israel as they employ Hip Hop as a tool to surmount divisions imposed by occupation and poverty.

The film combines performance footage and interviews with the musicians and their fans.

Live performances by DAM, Abeer, and PR (Palestinian Rappers) follow on the massive stage set up for Rhythm n Reels.

Also a feature debut, the Arabian Nights gala film is a powerful story in its own right, having been filmed in the Occupied Territories with a largely Palestinian crew.

Al Mor Wa Al Rumman (Pomegranates and Myrrh) is a World Premiere from Palestinian director Najwa Najjar, set in Ramallah, where free spirited dancer Kamar's husband is imprisoned.

Alone, Kamar returns to the only place where she can be free - the stage. There she meets Kais. Sparks fly, creating more than a passionate, emotional dance for both of them. This tender, brilliant film stars Yasmine al Masri (Caramel), Ali Suleiman and Hiam Abbass (both of Paradise Now).

Another debut is Milh Hadha al Bahr (Salt of This Sea), a thriller by Annemarie Jacir. Soraya is a Brooklyn-born Palestinian who returns to her homeland to reclaim her grandfather's estate.

Disillusioned by the harsh reality of life in the occupied territories, she teams up with a young Palestinian, Emad. As they struggle to realise their dreams, their frustration grows, and they decide to take matters into their own hands.


Three documentaries explore Palestine past and present; Vietato Sognare (Forbidden Childhood) deals with the impact of conflict on young people. Ali Abu Awwad, a former terrorist fighter, and Elik Al Hanan, an Israeli ex soldier, are both now peace activists, and each relates their experiences of growing up in a militarised society and their desire for peace.

Aisha um Najeh's Thakirat Al Sabbar: Hikayat Thalath Qura Falasteenia (Memory Of The Cactus: A Story of Three Palestinian Villages) is an account of three Palestinian villages that were razed in 1967 to make a park for Israelis. Abdelsalam Shehada's Ela Aby (To My Father) is a deeply personal film that looks at fifty years of Palestinian history through photographs, reportage and the voices of the photographers today.

Three wonderful shorts also emerge from Palestine: in Arafat and I, Marwan is a Palestinian Londoner obsessed with two loves: his fiance Lisa and former PA Chairman Arafat. How can he reconcile the two?

In A Space Exodus, the Palestinian-born multi-media artist Larissa Sansour vividly re-imagines scenes from Stanley Kubrick's '2001: A Space Odyssey', on her mission to become the first Palestinian on the moon.

Dubai International Film Film Festival was first started in 2004 and its fifth edition will be held from December 11-18.

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Publication:Gulf News (United Arab Emirates)
Date:Dec 10, 2008
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