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Movie Culture: Palestine

Posted April 17, 2008

Mai Masri's 33 Days

Mai Masri's 33 Days

For our next installment of "Movie City," we go to Baghdad with Anthony Kaufman's account of the Baghdad Film School. The attempt to resurrect a cinema after the horrendous years of war and occupation are nothing less than heroic. Other Arab cinemas have had equal hurdles. In the Guardian today, Nicholas Blincoe gives a short history of Palestinian cinema in this report on the current London Palestine Film Festival. In summing up cinematic tendencies, Blincoe points out, "Palestinian directors have a powerful sense of irony: they are very aware that everything they do will be pored over for evidence of terrorist sympathies; but, rather than collapse into paranoia, the response has been a heightened level of self-conscious wit." Certainly the films bear it out, but also this kind of black humor seems reminiscent of the stories told by other beleaguered cultures, including interestingly enough, Israel.