November 27, 2016

Palestinian Perspectives 10th Edition: Kamal Aljafari Retrospective

For its 10th edition, Palestinian Perspectives / Regards palestiniens is delighted to present a Kamal Aljafari Retrospective at the Cinémathèque québécoise, featuring five films that will be screened in the presence of the artist:

Tuesday, Nov. 29 – 7 pm
Balconies (2007, 7 min), The Roof (2006, 61 min)

Wednesday, Nov. 30 –7 pm
Visit Iraq (2003, 26 min), Port of Memory (2009, 62 min)

Thursday, Dec. 1 – 7 pm
Recollection (2015, 70 min)

In the course of this event, filmmaker Kamal Aljafari will be discussing Displaced Memory and the Politics of Space with Prof. Peter Limbrick, Film & Digital Media, UC Santa Cruz, on Monday, Nov. 28, 4 pm, at Morrice Hall, TNC Theatre, Room 017, McGill University.

These events are presented in collaboration with the online magazine Hors champ, the Cinémathèque québécoise and McGill University’s Institute of Islamic Studies, with the support of Montreal Arts Council and the Mel Hoppenheim School of Cinema (Fine Arts) of Concordia University.

Excerpt from Nour Ouayda’s text of presentation:
“ ‘You cannot remember quickly. You need to sit and stare.’ This was Kamal Aljafari’s response to a question posed by Nathalie Handal, asked in an interview published by Guernica, about what it would mean to ‘see in depth’. To sit and stare, to remember: these simple acts summarise his cinematic practice. In all his work, which comprises two short films (Visit Iraq and Balconies) and three feature films (The Roof, Port of Memory and Recollection), Aljafari directs his filmic gaze on remains and ruins. To stare, for a long time, to reveal what is hidden. Staring at traces so that ghosts may appear.”

For more details:

October 10, 2015

Palestinian Perspectives 9th edition 2015

Palestinian Women Filmmakers

December 2-3-4, 2015  

Cinémathèque québécoise, Salle Claude Jutra 

335, boul. de Maisonneuve est, Montréal  H2X 1K1 - Métro Berri-UQAM 

10$ (students-seniors 9$)

Also, Monday Nov. 30, 7pm, Cinema Politica screening @ Concordia Univ. Details : see below or click here:

Palestinian Perspectives 2015 is dedicated to Palestinian women filmmakers, including documentary, fiction and a short experimental. This series starts with a journey in search of the missing PLO archives that disappeared in 1982, followed by a vision on the attack of Southern Lebanon by the Israeli army in 2006 thorough the eyes on a group of young people, and last, on the complexities of the life for those who try to survive in Gaza under siege. Each feature film will be preceded by a short film that gives a feeling of what it is to live in a state of exception. This year’s programme provides a feminine vision of the terror of neo-colonialism.

Wednesday, Dec 2, 7pm 
Kings and Extras, preceded by Living by Fear, Hamourabi 
Screening presented by Najat Rahman, Professor of comparative literature at Université de Montréal

Kings and Extras, Azza el-Hassan, 2004, 62 min., eng. subt.
The 1970s Palestine film archive, whose films documented the revolutionary period of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), disappeared during the Israeli bombings on Beirut in 1982. Following the traces of a missed revolution, Palestinian filmmaker Azza el-Hassan goes off in search of this archive in a road-movie that drives us across Palestine, Jordan, Syria and Lebanon. The film mixes personal and national myths and explores feelings of loss and defeat with sensitivity and humor, while questionning its own status within this quest for images.

Living by Fear, Dima Abu Ghoush, 2013, 9 min., eng. subt.
Yitzhar is an Israeli settlement overlooking the Palestinian villages of Burin, Madama, Asira al-Qibliya, Urif, Einabus and Huwara in the Northern West Bank. The film shows families, and especially children, sharing testimonies about the attacks settlers regularly launch on their villages. à

Hamourabi, Dima Abu Ghoush, 2008, 15m44, fr. subt.

In 2006, legislative elections are held in the West Bank and Gaza to vote for the next Palestinian government. But what is the meaning of such democratic process in a territory still under occupation ? The film follows the campaign as it unfolds, and focuses on a very singular party named Hamourabi. 

Thursday, Dec. 3, 7pm
33 Days, preceded by Shake
Screening presented by Norma Rantisi, Professor of geography and urban planning at Concordia University

33 Days, Mai Masri, 2007, 70 min., fr. subt.
Palestinian filmmaker Mai Masri shows the life in Beirut during the Israeli bombings in 2006, when refugees reach the city from the South of the country particularly under attack. Masri follows three protagonists : a theatre actor who organizes workshops for traumatized children, a international aid worker, and a TV journalist. These three personal tales emphasize the search for a common good amidst the bombings and massacres.

Shake, Deema Dabis, 2015, 9m30, fr. subt.
Kareemah is a Palestinian performance artist who grew up in the United States, far away from the Occupation. She joins a circus company on a tour that passes by the West Bank. At the airport in Tel Aviv, she is faced with the reality of her Palestinian identity when the legitimacy of her presence in Israel is challenged by the violence of the border officer. 

Friday, Dec. 4, 5pm
Where Should the Birds Fly, preceded by Shujeiya, Land of the Brave, Home Movies Gaza
Screening presented by Zahia El-Masri, Palestian refugee in Lebanon, activist
In presence of the producer, Brian Drolet,

Where Should the Birds Fly, Fida Qishta, 2013, 60 min., fr. subt.
« Operation Cast Lead », 2008. The war left Mona without parents and suffering from multiple traumas. The girl gradually learns to trust Fida, the filmmaker, and recounts the events that have led to the destruction of her home and the murder of her family. Together, the two young women try to understand what surviving means.

Shujeiya, Land of the Brave, Hadeel Assali, 2014, 5m22, eng. subt.
The film superimposes two temporalities of Gaza. On the one hand, the happy images of the Shujeiya neighborhood before its tragic destruction during the 2014 Israeli attacks. On the other, a testimony by journalist Samer Zaneed, who condemns how the Red Cross ignored repeated calls for help from the residents of Gaza. 

Home Movies Gaza, Basma Al-Sharif, 2013, 24m08, fr. subt.
Home Movies Gaza introduces us to the Gaza Strip as a mircrocosm for the failure of civilization. In an attempt to describe the everyday of a place that struggles for the most basic of human rights, this video claims a perspective from within the domestic spaces of a territory that is complicated, derelict, and altogether impossible to separate from its political identity. 

Co-presented by:
Regards palestiniens, Cinémathèque québécoise, Cinema Politica
With the support of:
Centre de recherche sur le documentaire (Université Concordia)
Institute of Islamic Studies (McGill University)
Département de littératures et de langues du monde (Université de Montréal)
Galerie Imane Farès, Paris
PAJU Palestiniens et Juifs Unis
CJPP Coalition pour la justice et la paix en Palestine

Monday Nov. 30 - Admission by donation
"Mars at Sunrise" by Jessie Habie, Palestine-Canada-USA, 2013, 75 min.
Université Concordia, Hall Building, H110, 1445 de Maisonneuve ouest - Métro Guy

September 26, 2015

Palestinian Perspectives, 9th edition

at la Cinémathèque québécoise

December 2, 3, 4 - 2015

Details will follow... but we are happy to already announce that we will present, among others:


February 28, 2015

Trois artistes appellent au boycottage d’Art souterrain pour des raisons politiques
Le Devoir - 27 février 2015 | Jérôme Delgado - Collaborateur | Arts visuels

Devrait-on boycotter Art souterrain ?
Le soutien financier du consulat d’Israël à une expo sur la sécurité crée un malaise
Le Devoir - 28 février 2015 | Jérôme Delgado - Collaborateur | Arts visuels

ART SOUTERRAIN provokes outrage in Montreal

February 26 2015

Monsieur Frédéric Loury
directeur général et commissaire
Art souterrain, Montreal

This year Art souterrain chose the theme « Security, what’s left of our spaces of freedom » and Israel as guest of honour. Congratulations, what an amazing choice! Israel is indeed the great international expert on issues of « security », no other state is as qualified. Its main practice is to destroy the Palestinians’ security, when not throwing them in jail or killing them. Strangely, not a hint of irony can be detected in your statements to the media or to the public. One must be soaked in cynicism to associate the State of Israel with such an event, considering its systematic brutality towards the Palestinians: bombing operations on Gaza and its captive population, military occupation of the West Bank including through the illegal settlements; in few words, a permanent state of siege that deprives locals of all their rights: freedom to move, health, education, housing, food, water, work, land.

As exhibitors, it was with a sense of surprise and outrage that we discovered the collaborative relationship between Art Souterrain and the Consulate of Israel, when reading Le Devoir.

Responding to the Palestinian call in support of the BDS campaign (Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions), we demand that the short film « A Day in Palestine » be pulled from the exhibition. We refuse the payment of 50$ each (through Videographe).

We do not oppose being associated to Israeli artists, but we can’t co-exist with activities financed by the government of Israel.

We do not want to participate in your activities, be they ‘playful’ - as you say - or not, because your association with the Consulate of Israel attributes prestige to a State guilty of war crimes, of violating international law, of applying apartheid policies inside its own borders and in the occupied territories.
We invite all artists, teachers, students, researchers, athletes, and the organisations that represent them and employ them, to join the BDS campaign.

We are asking for an answer from Art Souterrain.

Mary Ellen Davis, Will Eizlini, Jose Garcia-Lozano

* * *

VJI-IJV Montréal : Voix juives indépendantes - Independent Jewish Voices

IJV strongly opposes/condemns the association of Israel with the Art Souterrain exhibit. It is outrageous for a state that suppresses the rights of Palestinians, that continues to violate UN resolutions, and that views "security" as installing an apartheid wall that prevents access to schools, work, and medical care for those living in the West Bank to be considered as worthy of honor. True security means that there are full liberties for all, and not the imposition of a militarized discrimination of many.

* * *

PAJU (Palestiniens et Juifs Unis):
Monsieur Frédéric Loury,
directeur général et commissaire
Art souterrain

C’est avec un certain étonnement que nous avons appris de votre décision  d’inclure Israël comme invité d’honneur sur le thème de « Sécurité, que reste-t-il de nos espaces de liberté ». Au nom de la sécurité de l’État, le gouvernement d’Israël a construit un système d’apartheid, dont les civils palestiniens sont les victimes, à l’intérieur de l’occupation illégale des territoires palestiniens qui dure depuis des décennies.

Pendant l’été de 2014, Israël a lancé une attaque meurtrière contre les Palestiniens à Gaza durant laquelle  2 000 Palestiniens ont été tués dont 70% furent des civils, parmi eux des centaines de femmes et d’enfants, cela au nom de la sécurité de l’État d’Israël. Un certain nombre de quartiers à Gaza ont été entièrement détruit.  Israël a lancé une attaque similaire contre Gaza en 2008 avec des conséquences aussi néfastes.

Ça fait 8 ans que Gaza est sous blocus et sa population est affamée et assoiffée. Cisjordanie est une prison au ciel ouvert et Gaza est le plus grand camp de concentration dans le monde. Que reste-il des espaces de liberté des Palestiniens, monsieur Loury? Eh bien, pratiquement rien!

Sachez que 700 artistes de conscience au Royaume Uni ont pris la décision de lancer un boycott culturel contre Israël ( et voila que vous et Art Souterrain se font complices d’un état qui pratique un système de ségrégation des plus déshumanisants contre un peuple voisin sans défense qui subit toutes sortes de supplices et humiliations depuis presque 67 ans!

Nous, membres de Palestiniens et Juifs Unis (PAJU), dénonçons cette complicité honteuse et nous allons exhorter le public à éviter votre exposition.

Bruce Katz
Palestiniens et Juifs Unis
le  25 février  2015

* * *

Coalition BDS-Québec:
Montréal, le 25 février  2015

Monsieur Frédéric Loury, directeur général et commissaire
Et toute l’équipe d’Art souterrain Montréal

Nous sommes une coalition de groupes et d’individus de la société civile québécoise impliquée dans une campagne internationale de boycott, désinvestissement et sanctions (BDS)  contre l’État d’Israël et ses violations systématiques du droit international envers le peuple palestinien…. depuis  1948 !

Nous sommes profondément indignés et révoltés contre votre décision de faire d’Israël votre invité d’honneur à Art souterrain, en particulier avec une thématique telle « Sécurité, que reste-t-il de nos espaces de liberté ? ». S’il est un État qui a investi massivement, avec l’aide des États-Unis et du Canada, dans l’industrie de la sécurité pour détruire brutalement tous les « espaces de liberté » des Palestiniens et Palestiniennes, c’est bien Israël.

Vous et votre équipe ne pouvez pas ne pas savoir ! Vous êtes très certainement au courant de la dernière et cruelle agression militaire d’Israël envers la population de Gaza pas plus tard qu’en juillet et août derniers. Vous savez qu’Israël occupe et colonise la Palestine depuis des décennies en toute impunité. Vous savez qu’Israël pratique une politique d’apartheid que des grands « connaisseurs » de l’apartheid, Nelson Mandela et Desmond Tutu, ont vigoureusement dénoncée.

Votre geste fait partie de la stratégie d’Israël qui ne rate pas une occasion de « revamper » son image dans le monde en contribuant au financement d’événements culturels.  Vous vous en faites le complice. Nous avions déjà bien assez du premier ministre Harper, le « plus meilleur ami » d’Israël sur la scène internationale comme source de honte pour tous les Canadiens et Canadiennes.

Enfin vous n’ignorez pas qu’un nombre sans cesse croissant d’artistes à travers le monde, y compris en Israël même, invitent leurs concitoyennes et concitoyens à soutenir la campagne BDS pour forcer Israël à respecter les droits du peuple palestinien. Ces artistes veulent contribuer  à ce qu’Israël restitue à ce peuple  ces « espaces de liberté » qu’il lui a usurpés illégalement par la force des armes et l’industrie de la sécurité.  Nous saluons le geste courageux et solidaire des artistes Mary Ellen Davis, Will Eizlini, Jose Garcia-Lozano qui  ont pris la décision de se retirer de l’événement.

Tous ces artistes contribuent ainsi à soutenir le peuple palestinien dans sa longue lutte pour la justice, la liberté et la paix. Nous vous invitons à en faire autant.

Sabine Friesinger et Lorraine Guay
Pour la Coalition BDS-Québec

October 31, 2014

Palestinian Perspectives 8th edition

28-29-30 November 2014
Cinémathèque québécoise, Salle Claude Jutra
335, boul. de Maisonneuve est, Montréal H2X 1K1 - Métro Berri-UQAM
10$ (students-seniors 9$)

co-presented by Cinémathèque québécoise, Cinema Politica, Institut français, Consulat de France, CJPP Coalition pour la justice et la paix en Palestine, PAJU Palestiniens et Juifs Unis

introductions and discussions by : Nasrin Himada, Shourideh C. Molavi, Norma Rantisi
translation : Alex Sanchez, M.E. Davis, R. Jean

This film programme includes documentary, fiction and mixed works. A reflexion on the destruction of Gaza by the Israeli army during Operation Cast Lead (repeated last summer under the name of Operation Protective Edge); the compartmentalization of Palestinians in the West Bank and their passage to Israel in spite of walls and controls; the Kafkaesque existence of Palestinians living in Israel; the oppression of fishermen and farmers in Gaza; and lives of those in exile haunted by regret. Different living conditions, but unity in resistance: “We shall not leave - they tell us - and the exiled will return.” These films share a vision, that of living and surviving in the rubble, behind walls, between checkpoints, without ever giving in.
- M.E. Davis, R. Jean

Friday Nov. 28, 8:30pm
PLOMB DURCI (Piombo fuso) - Stefano Savona – Italy 2009 - documentary - 80m – Fr. subt.

Saturday Nov. 29, 8:30pm
(International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People)
INFILTRÉS - Khaled Jarrar - Palestine 2012 - documentary - 70m – Fr. subt.
preceded by
THOUGH I KNOW THE RIVER IS DRY - Omar Robert Hamilton - Palestine 2013 - fiction - 19m – Eng. subt.

Sunday Nov. 30, 7pm
PORT OF MEMORY - Kamal Al Jafari - Palestine 2009 – hybrid documentary - 62m - 35mm Eng. subt.
preceded by
SAYADEEN [Fishermen] - Murat Gokmen - Palestine/UK 2013 - documentary - 13m40  Eng. subt.
DEBRIS - Abdelsalam Shehadeh - Palestine - documentary - 17m – Eng. subt.

PLOMB DURCI (Piombo fuso)
Stefano Savona – Italy 2009 - documentary - 80m – Fr. subt.
Friday Nov. 28, 8:30pm

It's January 6, 2009, the eleventh day of the Israeli attack on the Gaza Strip and the district is barricaded, with no-one able to get in or out. 'Cast Lead is made up of footage shot by Italian film-maker Stefano Savona, who captured these poignant and tragic vignettes of daily life in Gaza, during the last tragic days of operation 'Cast Lead'. With raw honesty and brutal imagery, this is a harrowing document of citizens trying to live their lives under the most terrifying conditions.

Khaled Jarrar - Palestine 2012 - documentary - 70m – Fr. subt.
Saturday Nov. 29, 8:30pm

The checkpoint is closed. “Detour, detour!” shouts a taxi driver and announces the beginning of the journey. The film unravels adventures of various attempts by individuals and groups during their search for gaps in the Wall in order to permeate and sneak past it. 
A closely guarded seven-metre high concrete barrier separates the West Bank from Israel. Getting to the other side is complicated and permits are scarce so the only way left for Palestinians is to cross the border illegally. There is little hope of success but there is no other option. The tense atmosphere, reminiscent of a game of cat and mouse, is enhanced by handheld camera shots, which follow the attempts to cross the border. For a long time director Khaled Jarrar has also focused on the problematic situation of the Palestinians in his photographic projects and performances.
Lookouts, fear, angst, running, permeation, jumping off, crawling, passing through dark passages, are stages of a complex process of passing through to the "other side" and require a very specific state of mind. Some attempts end in failure, and others in success. Some are caught by the Israeli soldiers and others reach their destination.

Omar Robert Hamilton - Palestine 2013 - fiction - 19m – Eng. subt.
Saturday Nov. 29, 8:30pm

He has returned to Palestine. Caught between his brother's past and his child's future, one man's choice triggers catastrophe for his family.

Director’s Statement
« Palestine, as a subject, can feel inaccessible and overburdened with history. Too often genuine drama and style is lost in ideology and political correctness.
But film-makers have a responsibility, art has an obligation to tell people's stories, to tell the stories that are being buried. With this short I think we are telling a relevant and resonant story, and telling it in a way that is both challenging and dramatic.
Having worked in Palestine for the last five years, living there for a month or two each year, I have been constantly thinking about how cinema - our most immersive artform - can hope to recreate even a fraction of the Palestinian experience.
It is an experience that is at once deeply complex and remarkably simple. It is both cinematically physical and invisibly psychological. It is living forever in an uncertain present while both the narratives of the past and the possibilities of the future are under attack. It is an experience that needs to be told and retold thousands of different ways - this is just one of them. »

Kamal Al Jafari - Palestine 2009 – hybrid documentary - 62m - 35mm Eng. subt.
Sunday Nov. 30, 7pm

The history of the town of Jaffa, a thriving port city now part of Tel Aviv, provides the background for Aljafari’s most recent film, centering on his mother’s family at risk of eviction if they can’t find proof that the house they have lived in for decades belongs to them. Their predicament is rendered with Aljafari’s usual subtlety, as well as deadpan humour and dark wit. This skeletal narrative provides the scaffolding for a portrait of life in what was once a bustling neighbourhood that was nearly emptied by fighting during the establishment of the state of Israel, and then suffered decades of official neglect. In the meantime, Jaffa was often used as a location for action adventure movies featuring the likes of Chuck Norris. While these films used the city as a generically exotic location, they have now become, in a neat bit of irony, the source of documentary images of the city as it was.

SAYADEEN [Fishermen]
Murat Gokmen - Palestine/UK 2013 - documentary - 13m40  Eng. subt.
Sunday Nov. 30, 7pm

Forced to fish within a three mile sea frontier, Gaza’s fishermen are struggling to survive. Supplies are dwindling and they risk everything to feed their families.  Those who approach the boundary risk arrest, seizure of their boats or earnings and gunfire from patrol ships. Shot over one morning from a boat off the Gazan coast, Sayadeen shows what it is to fish within the strictest naval blockade on the planet.
The documentary was filmed with the help of Raed, a local fisherman. He took the crew out on his speedboat and we talked to anyone we came across. One fisherman makes a direct appeal to the international community. His demand is simple but important: open up the sea.

Abdelsalam Shehadeh - Palestine - documentary - 17m – Eng. subt.
Sunday Nov. 30, 7pm

DEBRIS is not just the story of a Palestinian man whose farm is bulldozed and his house demolished, it is a story of someone who loves life, his family, his land: a man crying… It is a story of dreams with wings, that flutter far away in order to reach the sky. The story of a generation exposed to humiliation and brutality, that feels impotence, but remains standing.