As the Israel-Palestine conflict has reignited in recent times, leading to the death of 212 Palestinians, including 61 children and 36 women, death of 10 Israelis including 2 children and displacement of 52,000 Palestinians, here are the five must-see films from Palestine which take a brutally honest and poignant look at the catastrophic Middle East conflict
1. Jenin, Jenin (2002)
Director: Mohammad Bakri
It is a documentary about the 2002 deadly confrontations between armed Israeli soldiers and Palestinians in the occupied West Bank city of Jenin. The inhabitants of Jenin share their experiences without the help of narrator and the story flows on its own.
2. Wedding in Galilee (1987)
Director: Michel Khleifi
A Palestinian seeks Israeli permission to waive curfew to give his son a fine wedding. The military governor's condition is that he and his officers attend. The groom berates his father for agreeing. Women ritually prepare the bride; men prepare the groom. Guests gather. The Arab youths plot violence. One Israeli officer swoons in the heat and Arab women take her into the cool house. A thoroughbred gets loose and runs to a mined field; soldiers and Arabs must cooperate to rescue it.
As darkness falls, tensions between army and villagers rise, and the groom's wedding-night anger and impotence threaten family dignity and honor. Can cool heads prevail? “Wedding in Galilee” made a splash upon its release and created space for Palestine in the map of world cinema.
3. Chronicle of a Disappearance (1996)
Director: Elia Suleiman
A Palestinian expatriate filmmaker (Elia Suleiman) documents the loss of national identity in Israel's Arab population. The film follows the director himself as he returns to his hometown after a long absence and grapples with the loss of his identity. The film received rave reviews and a rare theatrical release in the United States.
4. Paradise Now (2006)
Director: Hany Abu Assad
Two childhood friends are recruited for a suicide bombing in Tel Aviv. "The film is an artistic point of view of that political issue," the director said. "The politicians want to see it as black and white, good and evil, and art wants to see it as a human thing".
Director Hany Abu Assad received his first Oscar nomination for his compassionate portrayal of two men who are ready to become suicide bombers.
5. They Do Not Exist (1974)
Director: Mustafa Abu Ali
Shooting under extraordinary conditions, the director, who worked with Godard on his Ici et Ailleurs (Here and Elsewhere) - this film was shot on the same 16mm camera - and founded the PLO's film division, covers conditions in Lebanon's refugee camps, the effects of Israeli bombardments, and the lives of guerrillas in training camps.
They Do Not Exist is a stylistically unique work which explodes at the intersection between the political and the aesthetic. It is hailed as one of the most important films from Palestine.