Reel Palestine Honors Life Under Occupation


One of the best things about living in Dubai is the cultural exposure. Whether it’s an exhibition, calligraphy or a food market, there’s always something going on that’s vibrant.

Last week, I attended the pop-up film series Reel Palestine, which is currently screening a selection of films about Palestine. I chose the night that featured a number of shorts at the jam jar.

There were eight short films, each one between seven to 30 minutes. A few of the films were extremely abstract and artistic, giving room for interpretation… and confusion. My favorite two films were “Maqloubeh” and “Ismail”.

The first film, “Maqloubeh”, was a dark comedy created around the famous Palestinian dish maqloubeh. The film paid homage not only to the nostalgic meal, but to the normalcy of being raided by the IDF.

The film began with a group of young guys preparing the food, which was shot beautifully. While the dish was on the stove, the IDF storms in. The guys are so used to it that while they’re being handcuffed and slammed against the walls, the old lady next door reminds them to take their coats.

The boys have a “not again” look on their face as one asks to just get his eyeglasses. As they’re leaving the building, arrested by the IDF, the old lady comments on the delicious smell of the food and talks about ingredients with one of the boys.

The film was able to capture the humor and normalcy of a situation that is traditionally considered terrifying.

The second film, “Ismail”, showed a day in the life of the late Palestinian painter Ismail Shammout. Through a daily walk with his younger brother that ends up in an Israeli minefield, the film explores exodus, survival and brotherhood and was shot with beautiful cinematography.

Reel Palestine began on Jan. 16th and will continue until Jan. 25. I definitely recommend checking them out.



WE SAID THIS: For Reel Palestine’s schedule of films, check here.