‘The Law in These Parts’ + Q&A

Tuesday 24th June

+ guest speaker Elian Weizman
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Can a democracy impose an indefinite military occupation on another people while retaining democratic values?

Since Israel occupied the territories of the West Bank and Gaza Strip in 1967, the military has imposed thousands of orders and laws, established military courts, sentenced hundreds of thousands of Palestinians, enabled half a million Israeli “settlers” to move to the Occupied Territories and developed a system of long-term jurisdiction by an occupying army that is unique in the entire world. The Law In These Parts explores this Apartheid legal system through testimonies of the military legal professionals who were its architects. The film invites the viewer to ‘judge’ the testimony of these military judges, yet never lets the viewer forget the place of Palestinian experience at the centre of this brutal system.    Directed by Ra’anan Alexandrowicz.

See the film trailer.

Followed by a discussion with Elian Weizman on law and resistance to Zionism within Israel, and on the interrelationship of law, hegemony and resistance.  

Dr Elian Weizman is a Teaching Fellow in Government and Politics of the Middle East and Israeli Politics at SOAS, and teaches Politics & History at Brunel University.

All welcome! Doors open 7pm,  start: 7.30pm.

Delicious Middle-Eastern food £4.00 per plate

Free entry / suggested donation £3

Passing Clouds, 1 Richmond Road, Dalston E8 4AA

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‘The Shebabs of Yarmouk’

Tuesday 27th May  

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A film by Axel Salvatori-Sinz, followed by a discussion.

In Yarmouk (Syria), the Shebabs, a small group of boys & girls, have been friends for years. Now as young adults, they have a genuine thirst for life, while being each faced with a conflicted situation. Between the need for freedom and sticking to the group, between longing for revolt and the prospect of a well-ordered life, choices are hard to make – all the more so when you’re a Palestinian refugee in the camp of Yarmouk, in Syria.

Director Salvatori-Sinz invites us to observe his subjects’ intimate banter, and from this material he constructs a striking and subtly poetic portrait of the camp’s young people, in the period just before Yarmouk was subjected to today’s desperate state of siege.

See the trailer here.

PLUS: After the screening, Emily Churchill Zaraa, a former resident of Yarmouk, will discuss  the impact of the uprisings and the current siege on Palestinians in Syria including those who participated in this film.

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‘Roadmap to Apartheid’ (2012) + discussion with Sarah Colborne, director of PSC

Tuesday 29th April

An exploration of the analogy of Apartheid in Israel/Palestine

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Directed by South African-born Ana Nogueira and Israeli-born Eron Davidson.

This film is both an astute work of political analysis and a gripping historical account of the human cost of regimes of ethnic separation. In ‘Roadmap to Apartheid‘ striking parallels emerge in accounts of  the rise and implementation of the Apartheid system in South Africa and the systematic segregation and oppression of Palestinians in Israel.   Narrated by Alice Walker (author of The Color Purple), the film interweaves archive footage from  South Africa and Israel/Palestine, with interviewees from both countries considering why the Apartheid analogy is so important for understanding the Israeli context. While the film presents a stark picture of the present within Israel and the territories it controls, it also offers hope by looking to the peace that South Africa eventually found.  Timely and powerful.

Followed by a discussion with PSC director, Sarah Colborne.

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‘A World Not Ours’ + discussion

Tuesday 25th March

Presented by the film’s makers*, and followed by a discussion with Abbas Shiblak, writer on statelessness.

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Mahdi Fleifel’s dazzling, award-winning first-person documentary immerses us in a strange and unique world. In the Palestinian refugee camp of Ain el-Helweh (“Sweet Spring”) in Lebanon  the approaching World Cup championship becomes a means for the residents – stateless and isolated since the camps hasty construction in 1948 – to articulate their own ideas of home, community, victory and hope.


Fleifel spent his formative years in the camp in the 1980s before his family settled in Denmark, and for years he has been returning and keeping a video diary, his conversations with the camp residents offering intimate take on life in Ain el-Helweh and the inhabitants’ grievances. At the heart of the film is Fleifel’s relationship with his friend Abu Eyad. But while Fleifel can visit the camp when he pleases, Abu Eyad must remain — an inequity that makes their friendship both precious and susceptible to tension.

Humourous, touching and revelatory, A World Not Ours brilliantly captures the tumultuous six decades since Ain el-Helweh’s construction through the lens of Fleifel’s own personal journey.     (Toronto International Film Festival)

* Nakba filmworks is director Mahdi Fleifel and producer Patrick Campbell

View trailer here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QDIyM8XTWUo

A review and interview here: http://972mag.com/film-review-the-unending-nakba-three-generations-of-stateless-palestinians-search-for-home/88223/

  • Background facts about Palestinian refugees in Lebanon -

An estimated 300,000 Palestinian refugees live in Lebanon in appalling social and economic conditions. Despite a labour law amendment in 2010 that was supposed to ease access for Palestinians to the official labour market, a survey released by the International Labour Organization in 2012 found that only 2% of Palestinians have obtained work permits, that most earn less than the minimum wage, and that those who do find employment are paid 20% less than their Lebanese counterparts. Lebanese laws and decrees still bar Palestinians from working in at least twenty-five professions requiring syndicate membership, including law, medicine, and engineering, and Palestinians are also still subject to a discriminatory 2001 law that prevents them from registering property.

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First Person Political: Artists on Israel/Palestine

Tuesday 25th February

A special evening in discussion with the artists Uriel Orlow, John Smith and music collective Raast.

Bergen Assembly 2013 – An Initiative for Art and Research, Bergen, Norway

Uriel Orlow’s Unmade Film: The Proposal (performance-lecture, 45 mins) is the last in a series of works that point to the structure of a film without ever fully becoming one. It takes as its starting point the mental hospital Kfar Shau’l in Jerusalem. Initially specialising in the treatment of Holocaust victims–including a relative of the artist–it was established in 1951 using the remains of the Palestinian village Deir Yassin which was depopulated in a massacre by Zionist paramilitaries in April 1948. The lecture performance envisages this impossible film in retrospect and presents its premise.

Music for oud, guitar and voice performed live by members of Raast Collective .

p_dpJohn Smith presents Dirty Pictures (video, 14 mins). Moving from one hotel in Bethlehem to another in East Jerusalem, the filmmaker encounters a series of problems involving a ceiling, a video camera and the Israeli occupation of Palestine. Dirty Pictures is the seventh episode in John Smith’s Hotel Diaries series. 

Followed by a discussion about the politics of art. What sort of critical responses to Israel/Palestine are British-based artists engaging? What are the opportunities and limits of art in a situation of injustice and on-going trauma? Palestinian artists have called for a cultural boycott of Israel – how should British artists respond?

Reviews:

“Upon the horrific realization that Kfar Sha’ul is in fact Deir Yassin, Orlow set out on a journey to probe the meaning of one painful event in history obliterating the other, in a context of historical intimacy between both… Orlow’s Unmade Film reconstructs a narrative of space, time and historical blind-spots that adds layers of unsettled new meaning to questions of subconscious pain, trauma and suffering in the contexts of obliterated geo-histories.” Hanan Toukan

“To the question of how one travels and collects images without objectifying, John Smith answers by shooting the generic in place of the exotic.  In Dirty Pictures, an Englishman travels to Palestine but instead of showing us the long lines at the checkpoints, the military artillery on display or the unbearable poverty inflicted on the general population, he elects to shoot the familiar interior of two common hotel rooms.  But nothing is ever entirely banal in the West Bank or so it seems.  As the wind from the window of his room hits the ceiling, the tiles start moving up and down. Off-camera, Smith explains that this newly renovated hotel reopened recently after being requisitioned by the Israeli army in 2000 at the start of the second Intifada because of its strategic location on top of a hill.  The surreal movement of the tiles becomes a poetic reminder of the building’s haunted past.”    Frédéric Moffet

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‘The Do Gooders’ (dir. Chloe Ruthven, 75 mins, 2013)

Tuesday 28th January

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Film screening followed by an audience discussion with Lubna Marsarwa and director Chloe Ruthven. 

Are aid organisations entrenching Israel’s regime in Palestine? Instead of helping to bring injustice to an end, are international activists and NGOs imposing their agendas on Palestinians?

Inspired by a book written by her grandmother about aid projects in Palestine, filmmaker Chloe Ruthven travels to the region to explore the effects of foreign aid on a people living under occupation. Along the way she meets local activist Lubna Masarwa. She not only becomes her driver, guide and fixer, but also offers a rare insight into the imbalance of power relationships on the ground. Masarwa speaks frankly of her distaste and distrust of foreign aid, something that sits uneasily with Ruthven . She begins to realise that while her film had begun by documenting a problem, she herself had become part of that problem. Followed by an audience discussion.

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Lubna Marsawa asks uncomfortable questions in Chloe Ruthven’s “The Do Gooders”

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British colonial film: Mandate Palestine

Tuesday 26th November

An insight into the end of British Mandate Palestine.

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This is a rare chance to see remarkable footage from the British colonial era.  Francis Gooding presents Portrait of Palestine (1946) produced by the British Colonial Office in the lead up to the end of the British Mandate in Palestine. Describing the footage as a ‘standard piece of propaganda’  Francis will present a close reading of the archival records, in order to  unpick the motivations behind the making of the film. Why did the British decide to make such a film just two months before ‘responsibility’ for Palestine was handed to the UN ?

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