The Leeds Palestinian Film Festival 2020
This year’s programme is, as with so many events, on line. It runs from November 14th until November 28th. The programme is structured through four themes:
Annexation, Occupation Defiance
As Seen by Annemarie Jacir
As Seen by Children
As Seen Through Creative Eyes
All told there are fourteen features that include both dramas and documentaries. In addition there are several supporting videos. As with earlier Festivals there are a range of views and experiences from amongst Palestinians and the few critical voices found among Israelis
The Festival is available on line through ‘InPlayer’ which is an online streaming platform. It claims to be ;
‘the world’s leading pay-per-view and subscription solution’.
It appears to be based in Britain and be an independent company. It relies on the Vimeo provision. There does not appear to be a test video to check reception but when I looked both the image and sound were of a good quality.
You can check yourself on the Festival Web Pages by looking at one of the ‘free’ videos like ‘Through the Eyes of Others – Launch Event’. This is useful as there is an introduction and a conversation regarding grassroots film provision.
You can buy a festival pass for the whole period or buy tickets for individual titles. Note, with the latter your viewing window is 48 hours. I assume that the pass enables you to view right through the period.
Monday November 18th at 8.3. p.m. and Wednesday November 20th at 6.30 p.m.
This year’s Festival of Palestinian films launches, as usual, with this title screening during the Leeds International Film Festival, Already screened at the London Film Festival which provided this description:
“The beard is now inflected with grey and the eyelids hang a little lower, but for Elia Suleiman, the deft comic touch and wistful regret for a home just out of reach remain strong in It Must Be Heaven. The Palestinian film-maker fourth feature film – and his first in a decade – revisits similar themes to his earlier work, once again employing himself as the near-mute central character. This time, however, Suleiman transposes much of the action to Paris and New York. The upheaval across the Arab world since 2011 has seen the Palestinian struggle for statehood lose some of the existential urgency it once had to outsiders. Suleiman’s film is a delicious reminder of both the vitality of the cause, and the vibrancy of his artistry.”
His earlier features have been screened at the Hyde Park over the years. His last, the very fine The Time That Remains (2009), was part of an ealier Festival of Palestinian films. This most recent title runs 97 minutes, in colour and in English / French / Arabic / Spanish / Hebrew [English sub-titles, it has an unusually wide ration, 2.66:1.
Tuesday November 20th at 6.30 p.m.
This is the second title in the Leeds Palestinian Film Festival following on from the very fine Reports on Sarah and Saleem in the Leeds International Film Festival. It testifies to the variety of Palestinian film that whilst the latter film was in part a thriller this is essentially a road movie. The journeys involve delivering invitations for a forthcoming Palestinian wedding in Nazareth [the meaning of the Palestinian title is ‘duty’]. This event is both an important traditional occasion in Palestinian culture and a regular feature in Palestinian films; notably in the pioneer feature A Wedding in Galilee (Urs al-jalil, 1987).
This new film is written and directed by Annemarie Jacir. She has written and directed a number of films; the earlier When I saw You / Lamma shoftak (2014) was set in 1967 amongst Palestinian refugees in Jordan. This was a splendid drama that I saw at a screening organised by Reel Solutions in Bradford. Her new release has already won awards including being selected as ‘Best Picture’, ‘Best Screenplay’ and ‘Best Actor’ by the Arab Critics assembled in Cannes this year.
The film works partly as a family drama and partly as a ‘bitter-sweet comedy’. The treatment of the political situation is handled with subtlety. It was shot in colour and is in Arabic with English sub-titles. It has received very good reviews; you can check out one here.
Screening at the Vue in the Light on Saturday 10th November at 1030 a.m. And on Sunday 11th November at 3.30 p.m.
This is a new film from the developing Palestinian Film Industry and it is both a welcome feature in LIFF and [as in previous years] launches the Leeds Palestinian Film Festival which runs on until December.
The film deals with an affair between two married people, a Palestinian man and an Israeli woman. Affairs between Palestinians and Israeli’s have been a staple of the cinemas of both Palestine and Israel but adding marriage to the complications is rarer. The film combines the thriller genre with the romantic drama genre. The film is the work of director Muayad Alayan and [his brother] writer Rami Musa Alayan. They have worked together on both a feature and short films but I have not seen any of these. As is often the case the production relies on funding from a number of different countries, Netherlands, Palestine, Germany and Mexico.
The film was shot digitally in both East and West Jerusalem with their contrasting cityscapes and cultures. It is in colour and a 2.35:1 ratio with Arabic, Hebrew and English dialogue and sub-titles in English. It promises to be an engaging and thought provoking film. Palestinian film-makers have become expert at combining cinematic genres with political issues and characterisations.
NB. The Festival online pages do not seem to have an straight alphabetical listing,; I found the title under country [Palestine].