March 7 – 13, 2014
Film Omar at Sundance Cinema

1010863_fr_omar_1378206363758The Oscar-nominated Palestinian film Omar is showing at the Sundance Cinema 608 in Hilldale Mall.

The US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation says: “Omar opened in more than 40 US cities this past Friday. If it is playing in your city, please ask your supporters to watch it this week to help keep it in theaters longer and make it a box office success. The film has an 89% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. Learn more about the film from this New York Times piece and like it on Facebook!”

ADC Releases Guide to Palestinian Film

The Madison-Rafah Sister City Project has a library of films about Palestine available for free public showings or household viewing. We can also help introduce the films and facilitate discussion.

American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee’s Palestine in Film, May 15, 2012

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To commemorate the anniversary of the Palestinian Nakba, the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC) announced the online publication of a guide to Palestinian film and filmmaking. It features information on and access to hundreds of films and film institutions, giving an unprecedented overview of almost every aspect of Palestinian filmmaking. 

The filmography provides detailed information on individual narrative and documentary films by and about Palestinians. Films included are both full length and shorter. Their subject matter deals with Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza, in Israel, and in exile around the world. They address the history and politics of the conflict with Israel, the experience of exile, daily life under occupation, the resistance to occupation and dispossession, reconciliation with Israelis, women’s issues, religion, and culture. Many films focus on political issues; some are entertainment films; in a few the aesthetic dimension is primary. There is information on grassroots films made by human rights organizations and by ordinary Palestinians documenting their own lives and communities. 

The document has links to films, trailers, websites, articles, publications, film festivals, and film distributors. The guide also provides access to information on Palestinian film production and distribution, the early development of a filmmaking infrastructure, including film schools, theaters, film festivals, and grassroots projects to promote film culture and to encourage and train women, children, young people, and community activists in filmmaking skills. In addition, there is a bibliography, including academic analysis and journalistic sources of information, on Palestinian film, its history, and its political context. 

The reader is pointed towards institutions and organizations where the films are available. Wherever possible, the guide provides links to websites where many of the films can be viewed online. 

The 79-page guide is available in the educational resources section of the ADC website. As a gateway to the entire world of Palestinian film, it is meant to be used by casual viewers, serious students, educators, academics, film professionals, and advocates for a just and lasting peace. 

Today, May 15, is the 64th anniversary of the Nakba, Israel’s ethnic cleansing of approximately 750,000 Palestinians from their homes and lands in 1948. These Palestinians and their descendants remain refugees to this day because Israel refuses to implement their internationally recognized human right of return. 

ADC is committed to a just and lasting peace in the Middle East and will continue to advocate the rights of the Palestinian people to freedom, equality and self-determination in an independent and fully sovereign Palestinian state with Jerusalem as its capital. 

September 14 – 15, 2011
Madison Film Premier: Cultures of Resistance

As part of the annual World Music Festival sponsored by the Wisconsin Union Directorate and others, an innovative, exciting new film will have its Madison premier.

Cultures of Resistance explores how art and creativity can be the ammunition in the battle for peace and justice on a world-wide scale.

As a celebration of cultural diversity, it was filmed in 16 languages: Arabic, Burmese, Dari, English, Farsi, French, Hebrew, Kayapó, Kinyarwanda, Kirundi, Korean, Portuguese, Sinhalese, Spanish, Vietnamese, and Xhosa.

Musicians and artists from 25 countries are featured in the documentary: Afghanistan, Argentina, Brazil, Burma, Colombia, Congo (DRC), Greece, Guatemala, Honduras, Iran, Iraq, Israel, Lebanon, Liberia, Mali, Mexico, Nigeria, Occupied Palestine, Rwanda, Sierra Leone, Sri Lanka, Syria, Uganda, USA, and Vietnam.

Join us at one of the following free showings:

  • Wednesday, Sept. 14: Premier showing at 7 pm in The Marquee, Union South, with post-film commentary by Jonathan Overby.
  • Thursday, Sept. 15: Showings at 7 and 9 pm in the Play Circle, Memorial Union.

June 5 – 11, 2009
Film: The Lemon Tree

FOR ONE WEEK ONLY! The Lemon Tree | Shajarat limon | Etz halimon
(Israel-France-Germany). Based on true stories behind the ‘separation wall’.

Sundance Cinemas Madison
(NR) Screening Room; Arabic, Hebrew, English dialogue; Subtitled
Fri: (1:25), (4:40), 7:10
Sat: (4:40), 7:10
Sun – Thu: (1:25), (4:40), 7:10

Salma Zidane refuses to let the Israeli military destroy her lemon grove.

Wisdom and sadness in a universal tale of fighting the odds

Ray Bennett, The Hollywood Reporter, May 30, 2009

BERLIN — Taking its cue from the old song, the fruit of Eran Riklis' wise and poignant film "Lemon Tree" is as unpalatable as the age-old and relentless friction between Israel and the West Bank.

It's a simple tale of a Palestinian woman who refuses to allow her lemon grove to be destroyed by the Israeli military, which claims that it might harbor terrorists. Its universal story of a stubborn individual who resists powerful forces and the two lonely women who connect as a result will resonate with grown-up audiences everywhere.

Hiam Abbass, who appeared in Riklis' 2004 picture "The Syrian Bride," stars as Salma Zidane, the sorrowful owner of a small lemon grove full of trees planted by her late father. Her husband died 10 years earlier and her children have grown and moved out.

Riklis and co-writer Suha Arraf take time to establish Salma's relationship to the lemon trees as she tends them lovingly, sleeps in the shade of their branches, hears the fruit fall one by one, jars pickled lemons and makes very tasty lemonade.

Trouble comes along fast, however, when Israel's new defense minister, Israel Navon (Doron Tavory), who makes political capital with bold statements about defending his nation from terrorists, moves into a house on the West Bank border right next to Salma's lemon grove.

Barbed wire fences are swiftly erected along with a watchtower manned with machine-guns. Deciding that it's not enough, the Secret Service declares the lemon grove to be an immediate and deadly threat and orders the trees to be hacked down.

Determined to protect her family heritage not to mention her only source of income, Salma seeks the help of a lawyer, Ziad Doud (Ali Suliman), from a nearby refugee camp to represent her, and their case goes all the way to the Supreme Court.

As someone says in the film, happy endings are only for Hollywood movies, and Riklis sustains a kind but unsentimental tone as the story develops several threads. Among these are a slow-burning love interest between the widow and her counsel, and the revelation that all is not well in the defense minister's household.

His wife, Mira (Rona Lipaz-Michael), misses their grown children as well as her frequently absent husband. As her loneliness grows, she begins to identify with the plight of her neighbor even though they remain virtual strangers.

The cast is uniformly fine, but Abbass and Lipaz-Michael shine as two women who bond in the fear that the best of their lives is over and neither of them is happy with what the future holds. It's not a gloomy film, but in his parable of the tiny differences than can separate nations, Riklis suggests there's no great reason for optimism.

Running time — 106 minutes
No MPAA rating