San Diego Arab Film Festival Opens, Closes With Palestinian Films
Speaker 1: 00:00 The San Diego Arab film festival kicks off with in-person and online events. This Saturday, it opens with a Palestinian drama between heaven and earth and closes with another film from Palestine 200 meters KPBS film critic. Beth Armando speaks with filmmaker Nashwan Natasha who spoke from Palestine and Rebecca Romani, who has covered the festival for cinema junkie for years. Speaker 2: 00:27 Nashua, your film between heaven and earth is going to be opening the Arab film festival this year. How does that feel? Speaker 3: 00:35 Um, especially in the current situations, I think it's feels wonderful. I'm really happy that, you know, a film which tackles Palestinians throughout the whole country, something that is very different than what is seen on TV. What is seen in, uh, just news clips, which is just violence, so that we see the real people and how real lives are at stake. And so with everything that's going on now back home, it's I think it's very, very appropriate. I'm very pleased. Well, I think what's Speaker 2: 01:07 Really important for American audiences is the fact that we don't really get to see Palestinian films. Very often. There are very few that are ever released and you know, one of the best ways I think to create empathy is through movies. And your film does that through, what's basically a very simple relationship film that plays out against kind of a broader backdrop. So talk a little bit about what the story is. Speaker 3: 01:35 It's a love story about divorce. It's a story which takes, um, a couple Tamid who is the son of a famous intellectual revolutionary killed in Beirut and send Matt is a Palestinian girl from Nazareth, which is incites the 48 borders. And they've been married for five years, living in the west bank [inaudible]. Speaker 4: 02:08 And Speaker 3: 02:08 The first time that they are given permission to enter Israel is when they're going to go and straighten up their papers in order to finalize divorce at the court, they discover that his father had a secret and in order to find and finalize the divorce papers, they have to find the father's lover. And that takes them on an emotional journey throughout the country. They rediscover themselves and they discover the country as well, that they have been in many ways, uh, divorced from. So it's divorced on many levels. It's love under occupation. It's it's our lives in many different ways. So when you say the American audiences usually don't have a chance to see this it's because I think in many ways they've been bombarded, TV, images, and stereotypes, which are quite horrific, and it's a very much a political kind of efficient. So, um, distributing our movies is very, very difficult. But now with platforms like Netflix, Amazon, Hulu, and other things, there's a huge movement in order to incorporate it. And the more American see our movies, because there's a fairness that I always found with Americans that once they see it and they understand the other perspective, then there's a change. Nausea Speaker 2: 03:32 Is film is going to be opening the festival and there's going to be another Palestinian film closing the festival 200 meters. What's this one about Rebecca. Speaker 5: 03:40 It closes with a very interesting film called 200 meters. And the interesting thing about this, which is sort of an overarching theme for many of the Palestinian films in the festival this year is it shows the hurdles that Palestinians encounter every day, especially those who live in the occupied territories and who need to cross into Israel. There are many things that face them, checkpoints, Israeli garden to make decisions on the spot issues of documents. So in this particular film, we're seeing a very interesting situation. Our lead Mustapha lives on one side of the wall, which divides Israel and the occupied territories and his wife and three children live on the other side of the wall 200 meters apart. And that's really not very far. And he goes every day because in fact he works in Israel, but their son measured is in the hospital because he's had a really serious accident sidewalk courses on one on the Israeli side, Mustapha is on the occupied territory side and he needs to get to the hospital to make sure everything's being taken care of and then measure this. Okay. But he hits a snack when he goes to the checkpoint, in order to cross he's told he, his entry permit is expired. It's a beautifully shot film. It's very well acted. And I think it's when you're going to enjoy for the end of the film festival. Well, Speaker 2: 05:09 Not for your film. Do you feel that there's anything American audiences might need to know in advance of seeing it just in terms of giving them a little background or a little, um, information Speaker 3: 05:20 I do actually. And usually I like to do a little introduction. There's two, two parts, which I would like to briefly discuss the first one is that this movie that was shot 24 days, we started in the west bank and we shot in Jericho. Um [inaudible] and then we went inside the green line or inside of Israel, which, and we shot in Haifa. Yeah, Nazareth. We reached the Lebanese border where we shot in a Jewish, uh, Ruston, the order just as it up. And it could it where the whole story started this a road movie and in two separate different conditions and the Palestinian in Ramallah and Jericho. And we could put the camera wherever we wanted. We could put it outside the car. We could shoot, we didn't need permissions. We had the basic permission to do everything. Um, and then the rest was a little bit more complicated, a little bit more difficult, um, which led to four arrests and led to all kinds of permissions being denied and not given. Speaker 3: 06:25 And anyway, it was another process, but that was the road movie that actually took place where they, the, the movie, the road movie in the movie took place. And the second one takes a sub story, which is the, uh, design, uh, administer Hain Jews, which are the Jews that came from the Arab world in 1948, 750,000 Palestinians were forced out of their homes to replace them. There was a whole operation to bring in Jews from the Arab world. And 600,000 Arab Jews were brought in, mostly from Yemen, Iraq and from Morocco. And most of these people lived in these countries as Jews, just like Christians and Muslims and Jews live together where religion was not the political issue. So these 600,000 Jews Arab Jews that were brought into Israel between 1949 and 1952, according to Israeli statistics that have been coming out recently, 8,000 Arab Jews were kidnapped from the hospitals, the interment camps that they were placed in, where they were treated as subhuman, because they are Arab 8,000 Arab Jews were kidnapped and given to Ashkenazi or European Jews in order for them to be raised as white. So this is quite a big story that is recently coming out in Israel, where people are demanding, they're demanding to, uh, to know where their children were. And this is included in my story. And so that's, um, very much a first and it's, but it is a sub story. It's not the main story. These are two things that American audiences can keep in mind when they're watching the film. All right. Speaker 2: 08:09 I want to thank you both very much for talking about the Arab film festival this year. Speaker 1: 08:19 That was Beth haka, Mondo speaking with Nashwan ajar and Rebecca Ramani, the San Diego Arab film festival launches its 10th year at the museum of photographic arts this Saturday and runs online and in-person through June 19th. Speaker 4: 08:47 [inaudible] [inaudible].