Solidarity for Palestinian Human Rights University of Ottawa (SPHR) is a student run, non-profit organization that advocates on a strong social justice platform to uphold the rights of the Palestinian people in the face of human rights violations and all forms of racism, discrimination, misinformation and misrepresentation.

June 12, 2007

Films

DIVINE INTERVENTION
In this darkly comic masterpiece, Palestinian director Elia Suleiman utilizes irreverence, wit, mysticism and insight to craft an intense, hallucinogenic and extremely adept exploration of the dreams and nightmares of Palestinians and Israelis living in uncertain times. Subtitled, "A Chronicle of Love and Pain," Divine Intervention follows ES, a character played by and clearly based upon the filmmaker himself. ES is burdened with a sick father, a stalled screenplay and an unrequited love affair with a beautiful Palestinian woman (Manal Khader) living in Ramallah. An Israeli checkpoint on the Nazareth-Ramallah road forces the couple to rendezvous in an adjacent parking lot. Their relationship and the absurd situations around them serve as metaphors for the lunacy of larger cultural problems. The result is a palpable rage that is both personal and political.


PEACE PROPAGANDA & THE PROMISED LAND
The U.S. Media and the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict
This pivotal video exposes how the foreign policy interests of American political elites--working in combination with Israeli public relations strategies--exercise a powerful influence over news reporting about the Middle East conflict. Combining American and British TV news clips with observations of analysts, journalists, and political activists, Peace, Propaganda & the Promised Land provides an historical overview, a striking media comparison, and an examination of factors that have distorted U.S. media coverage and, in turn, American public opinion.

RANA'S WEDDING
For a young Palestinian woman in Jerusalem, getting married requires taking some back roads and back streets, given the checkpoints that block passage of traffic almost everywhere. Viewers of this film get the experience of life lived under a state of occupation and political tensions. Adding to the drama is the deadline imposed by the young woman's father, who is leaving for Egypt at 4pm and has given her the choice of going with him or marrying a man of his choosing. The third option - her own - is marriage to a man she really loves, and she has 12 hours to find him and get the agreement of her reluctant father.



UNTIL WHEN
During the Arab-Israeli War in 1948, 750,000 Palestinians were forced to leave their homes and now--almost 60 years later--there are about 5 million Palestinian refugees. The film "Until When" examines the Palestinian refugee problem by focusing on people who live in the Dheisheh Refugee Camp (one of the 59 Palestinian Refugee Camps)--located near Bethlehem in the occupied West Bank. The fact that over 11,000 refugees are squashed into the 1/2 square kilometer camp does not stop the refugees from living vibrant lives--even in poverty and hardship. Filmmaker Dahna Abourahme personalizes the plight of the 1000s of refugees by interviewing a handful of residents from the Dheisheh Camp.

PARADISE NOW
Shot on location in both Palestine and Israel, Paradise Now is an enthralling drama about the possible motivations and actions of two suicide bombers. Director Hany Abu-Assad meticulously researched the subject before co-authoring the script with colleague Bero Beyer, and fought off a few armed Palestinians in Nablus, which is where the bulk of the film's shooting took place. The story follows two young Palestinian men, Said (Kais Nashef) and Khaled (Ali Suliman), whose lives in the West Bank city have ground to a halt. But when a shadowy figure named Jamal (Amer Hlehel) offers them a shot at martyrdom by carrying out a suicide attack in Tel Aviv, the two men's lives are suddenly invigorated. The film follows their final days, as they grapple with their consciences, visit family and friends--and in Said's case, a young woman he has been flirting with--and prepare for the attack. But they find both practical and emotional issues stand in their way, leading to an anguished and entirely moving finale to Abu-Assad's film.


CHECKPOINT
The signing of the Oslo Peace Accord in 1993 sparked worldwide hope for a resolution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. CHECKPOINT takes a critical look at this peace agreement and its aftermath. With offbeat humor, warmth and insight, it offers an unorthodox appraisal you won't hear from network sound bites. This engaging documentary explores recent events - the assassination of Israeli Prime Minister Rabin, the Palestinian takeover of West Bank towns, the first Palestinian elections, suicide bus bombings, Arafat's abuse of power, and the growing frustration among Palestinians - events that seem to herald a collapse of the historic agreement reached at Oslo. Palestinians and Israelis speak of the contest over Jerusalem, Israeli settlement expansion, the forgotten refugees, and their visions of a just peace.


PRIVATE

Inspired by real events, documentary filmmaker Saverio Costanzo's feature debut is a minimalist psychological drama about a Palestinian family of seven suddenly confronted with a volatile situation in their home that in many ways reflects the larger ongoing conflict between Palestine and Israel.
Winner of a Golden Leopard at the Locarno Film Festival, PRIVATE is convincingly shot in a documentary style with a hand-held camera and a quick pace. Director Costanzo has created a unique occasion for both Israeli and Palestinian actors to work together, and being an outsider himself, he has worked to maintain a neutral standpoint while dramatizing the conflict. Official Selection of the 2005 Vancouver International Film Festival and San Francisco International Film Festival.



JENIN JENIN
'Where is God,' an elderly man desperately wonders when surveying the debris in the Palestinian refugee camp Jenin. The film, directed and co-produced by Palestinian actor and director Mohammed Bakri, includes testimony from Jenin residents after the Israeli army's Defensive Wall operation, during which the city and camp were the scenes of fierce fighting. The operation ended with Jenin flattened and scores of Palestinians dead. Palestinians as well as numerous human rights groups accused Israel of committing war crimes in the April 2002 attack on the refugee camp. Jenin Jenin shows the extent to which the prolonged oppression and terror has affected the state of mind of the Palestinian inhabitants of Jenin. The sad question forces itself on the spectator. What will become of a country, a people when its children are confronted with war and violence from a very early age? Banned in Israel, Jenin Jenin is dedicated to Iyad Samudi, the producer of the film, who returned home to Yamun after the shooting of the film was completed. On June 23, as Israeli forces besieged Yamun, Samudi was shot and killed as he was leaving a military-closed area with three friends.

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