‘Days of Cinema’ Film Festival Concludes in Palestine

“Days of Cinema” is a film festival which has been running all this week in Palestine and which wound up today. Films by Palestinian filmmakers, as well as filmmakers of other nationalities, have been featured–more than 60 in all. A little bit more on the festival can be found here:

Days of Cinema is an international event with strong local roots. International directors, producers, and cinema experts will join FilmLab: Palestine in putting the spotlight on Palestinian independent cinema as an essential part of developing the Palestinian cultural sector.

Hanna Atallah, artistic director and founder of FilmLab: Palestine, offers this description: “Days of Cinema is a unique event with the capacity to bridge international outlook and local impact, it aims to bring the world to Palestine and opens a new window on the world for the Palestinian audience.”

The opening film of Days of Cinema is Palestine’s own Dégradé, by Arab and Tarzan Nasser from Gaza, which premiered at this year’s Cannes International Film Festival. Days of Cinema will also close with a Palestinian film, namely Love, Theft, and Other Entanglements by Muayad Alayan, which was prmiered at this year’s Berlin International Film Festival. Further, a number of Palestinian films exclusive to Days of Cinema will be screened.

Here is a trailer for Love, Theft, and Other Entanglements:

And for Dégradé

There is also a film called Junction 48 that has garnered a lot of attention. Released earlier this year, the film is made by Israeli filmmaker Udi Aloni and tells the story of two young Palestinian hip hop artists. The production includes a performance by Tamer Nafar, who in fact is a Palestinian rapper in real life. And as it so happens, Nafar found himself being booed and reviled while attempting to do a concert in Haifa–just a few days ago:

Taking the stage, Nafar told the audience, “I’m going to speak in two languages, because I’m someone who knows how to build bridges. After this very tough week, I want to say thank you. Jews and Arabs have both shown support for this show.”

As he spoke, protestors in the audience booed at him and even gave him the middle finger, lifting up hands wrapped in the Israeli flag. “And to those of you yelling and trying to ruin this—I can’t even bring myself to hate you,” said Nafar.


Tuesday’s show was preceded by a wave of protests calling to cancel Nafar’s show. Those opposing his participation in the festival included the members of a Facebook group and Culture and Sport Minister Miri Regev (Likud), who wrote a letter to Haifa Mayor Yona Yahav on the matter.

Regev’s statement came after the tumultuous Ophir Awards ceremony in September, during which Nafar performed a song that quotes the Palestinian poet Mahmoud Darwish that Regev, who was also present at the ceremony, considered anti-Israeli and offensive. “I have a lot of respect and tolerance of the other,” Regev told the booing audience, after leaving during the performance and returning to present the prize for Best Film. “But I don’t have the tiniest bit of tolerance for Darwish or anyone else who wants to destroy my people or my country.”

“While I believe in freedom of speech and work to protect it,” Regev wrote in her letter to Yahav. “These words wish to legitimize terrorism, and we as a country cannot fund it in any way. This is where we, you, must draw a clear line that separates freedom of expression from freedom of funding.” She added that “It is unseemly that the Haifa Municipality would hurt public sensitivity and the values of the State of Israel.”

In the midst of all the controversy surrounding Nafar, the show’s organizers announced that he would “most likely cancel his show,” due to the previous show—by Israeli singer Dikla—going longer.

Nafar himself, however,told Ynet that he never made such a statement, and that he was looking into what had caused the municipality to say such a thing.

The above is from an article published by YNet on Wednesday. You can go here to read the rest of the story. In the meantime, here is an excerpt from the filmJunction 48 featuring a performance by Nafar and co-star Samar Qupty. The two are performing the film’s theme song, “If Only.”:

It’s interesting that Israeli cabinet minister Miri Regev accuses Palestinians of wanting to destroy the people and the state of Israel. How do we view a statement like that in light of the history of the occupation and particularly in the context of the founding of Israel by Zionists whose intention all along was to displace the native inhabitants of the land? How do we view it in the context of the ongoing construction of illegal settlements, the demolition of homes, uprooting of olive trees, the blockades, the wall, the police raids in the middle of the night–all features of the longest occupation in history and that shows no sign of ending anytime soon?

But in the face of all this, the Palestinian rap singer Tamar Nafar has the effrontery to say, “I can’t even bring myself to hate you.”

The point he seems to be trying to make here is that there are better things to do with one’s life than to consume oneself with hatred. Hmm…maybe he’s onto something.

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