Its a sign of desperation, more than anything, that flotillas and films are the prevailing Palestinian tactics at the moment. While seagoing attempts to breach the Israeli blockade of the Gaza Strip are aimed at easing domestic shortages (of medicine and cement, for example), documentary makers have fixed their gaze and hopes on the international community. In the wake of Israels offshore assault on Gaza-bound ships, the Arab Film Festival screens two films inspired by a previous conflagration the three-week war between Israel and Hamas as the calendar turned from 2008 to 2009. Gazas Winter, an omnibus work comprised of the best shorts submitted in response to an open call by a few Ramallah filmmakers, encompasses a range of emotions from anger to hopelessness. Gaza-strophe, The Day After is a record of French-based director Samir Abdallahs post-ceasefire visit, cataloguing the wars destruction (which U.S. media barely showed) as well as the spirit and resilience of the Palestinians. A panel discussion follows the films, testing the notion that words, as well as images, can make a difference.
Thu., July 29, 7 p.m., 2010