Drawing From Memory

Drawing from memory is a short documentary film that tells the story of Abed Abdi and his family’s personal experience of the Palestinian Nakba through his works of art. 

 

Abed as an artist and educator has been consistently promoting the Arab culture in Israel for over 40 years. His contribution to the visual culture of the Palestinian minority in Israel is unprecedented. 

In 1964 he went to study in Dresden and on his return to Haifa in 1971 was appointed chief graphic designer and illustrator of the Al-Ittihad newspaper and the Al-Jadid literary journal, which at the time were the main platforms of Arab culture and society. It was then that Abdi created hundreds of illustrations and prints -images of refugees, exile, and homeland - the majority of which illustrated the literary works of Emile Habibi, Salman Natour, Samih al-Qasim, and others. 

It is these images that shaped Arab visual memory of historical events like the Nakba, the refugee camps, destroyed villages, and the events of Land Day, hence the works' significant influence on the collective memory of the Palestinian minority in Israel. 

 

The Palestinian “Nakba” (literally "disaster", "catastrophe", or "cataclysm") took place in the 1948 Palestine war, about 750,000 Palestinians were uprooted from their homes, more than 770 villages were demolished during the war, while urban Palestine was almost entirely destroyed. The precise number of refugees, many of whom settled in refugee camps in neighboring states, is a matter of dispute but around 80 percent of the Arab inhabitants of what became Israel (half of the Arab total of Mandatory Palestine) left because their lives were threatened or were expelled from their homes.
Abed Abdi is one of the Palestinians who were uprooted with his entire family from Haifa city’s Port during the Nakba, part of his family including himself managed to get back to Haifa, however, their home was owned by an Israeli-Jewish family.

 

Director | Suheir Khoury
Photographer & Editor | MMG

Subtitles included: English, Hebrew

 

Turn left to Palestine

Stranger in my homeland is a non-classic eclectic short film, that encompasses the  Palestinian-Israeli conflict from multiple aspects, it suggests rethinking the way of life in the small and charged territory (Palestine/Israel). 

Being an entity without a defined identity is a status that has always accompanied me in my life. I was born in Israel but never felt Israeli. And even if I define myself as a Palestinian, this statement is a very complicated statement for others, since there is no such state on the map. The physical and metaphysical boundaries that define the self are blurred for me.

As a kid, I had a dream, that one day I would become a part of the Hollywood movie industry. In my adulthood, while feeling the need to move away from the village and expand my preoccupation with the art of cinema, I left the place that I grew up in and moved to live in the city of Haifa. Leaving home and moving to a big city, where the rules are looser and the cultures are more diverse, flooded and further strengthened my questions about belonging, and placed me in a constant situation of adapting myself to the majority. I felt in an intermediate space, neither here nor there. At the same time, I felt other feelings, a sincere longing to fulfill the childhood dream, to integrate into the dominant culture around me, and even to stand out in it, while I was intrigued by it and at the same time avoided taking apart, in an attempt to find my natural place, I soon lost the sense of space and border.

 

For four years, I photographed life around me as a collector of everyday moments. Out of a sense that I have a role and even a mission; To photograph, document, edit, and tell the story of the people who live around me, and the story of the places that are significant to me. At the heart of my film is the craft of editing, which is the definition of the boundaries and connections between shots and scenes, as the definer of the narrative space. 

 

Alabokato

"We will never give in to the Israeli prostitution that is trying to present Israel as a victim ... We must focus more on the struggle against the Israeli and American occupation and not on the attack on the Syrian regime ... The Syrian, North Korean, and Iranian dictatorships are dozens of times better than the American, Israeli, and NATO occupiers. And all their Arab collaborators, especially in the Gulf states "

 

Alabokato is a short documentary about the life of the activist, poet, and one of the most important Palestinian figures, Muhammad Nafaa.

 

He was born to a well-off middle-income family in the village of Beit Jann al-Jalila, which has grown into a well-known sect. He completed his legal education at Ramah High School and then completed his education at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem after completing his first degree in Arabic and Hebrew literature. During his academic education he worked In agriculture, he joined the Communist Youth until he held the position of Secretary-General of the Israeli Communist Youth Union from 1971 until his entry as a member of the Knesset by the “HaHazit HaDemokratit LeShalom uLeShivion” in early 1990, in place of Knesset member Tawfiq Ziyad until the end of the Knesset term in June 1992, after which he held the position of Secretary The General Assembly of the Israeli Communist Party from 1993 until 2002.

 

Nafaa As A Writer, dealt with many topics that are closely related to the earth, to the point of his love for the land, as his many stories as authentic and cordial revolve around this topic, and Nafaa describes every atom in the soil to the extent that it can be said that it is earthy.

Nafaa also excelled in describing the residents of his Druze village, Beit Jinn, describing their deeds and beliefs, their customs and traditions, and so on.

The language of Nafaa in the stories is characterized by being simple peasantry and in many cases local by its instinct and flow, as it is the language of the simple people that fits the peasants and the land, and therefore we find him quoting many popular proverbs.

 

Director & Script Writer | Orwa Saif
Photographer & Editor | MMG

 

Who Is A Hero

During my studies at The NB Haifa School of Design, I took part in a course called ‘’Prison Notebooks’’, as part of the course we would travel every week during an entire school year to the ‘Shata Prison’ located in the Harod Valley, near Kibbutz Beit Hashita in north Israel.

 

Shata is a prison for serious criminal prisoners as well as security prisoners. Every time we visited the prison, we sat in a circle, ten prisoners and ten students, and with those who chose to take part in the activity, together we read stories we wrote during the week. Of course, it is impossible to dissociate oneself from the fact that nine out of the group of prisoners are Arabs, who chose to write and express their feelings in a foreign language, which is not their native language, claiming that it is difficult for them to express themselves and speak about emotions in Arabic. During the reading of the stories, we would record the meeting on recording devices, as the law in Israel forbids photography inside the prison space.

After the sessions, we were required to organize a group of students relying on the experiences we had with the prisoners and the stories we wrote.

 

Who is a Hero, is a short film that conveys the shaky experience we’ve been through in the ‘Shata Prison’ meetings. The story in the narration, spoken in the Arabic language is a combination of four stories written originally in Hebrew by two prisoners and two students/creators, who together combined by me and my colleagues to form and create one narrative, that will create confusion for the viewer. That way, if the viewer felt identification while watching, they will not be able to tell if this is the story of the prisoner or the student. The film focuses on the one character we never met during the meetings as the leading actor, that her presence is missing from the prisoner’s stories, she changed and even shaped our perception of the current situation and reality of the prisoner’s life. A wife that is living apart from her husband, having to raise their children on her own, forced to play two major roles simultaneously, a mother and a father. By choice or not at will. Thus the important question, who is a hero will be present throughout the film, and the answer will remain a subjective interpretation to the viewer.

 

Directors, Scriptwriters & Photographers | Yonatan Levy, MMG

Editing & Color grading | MMG

 

Subtitles included: English, Hebrew