Love and Desire Under Conditions of Occupation and Dispossession

This February, in the month of Valentine’s Day, Cinema Palestino - a Sheffield based film festival that looks to promote some of the best films from, and about, Palestine - are presenting an exciting and thought-provoking programme of three short Palestinian films.

The three films in the programme explore love and desire under conditions of occupation and dispossession. They deal with experiences of romantic love, the love of family and the love for one’s homeland.

In Rakan Mayasi’s beautifully shot Bonbone (2017), a husband detained in an Israeli jail where visits are restricted resorts to an unusual way to conceive a child with his wife. Bonbone is a moving portrayal of the lengths that people will go to in order to start a family, and a powerful statement about the power of love and desire as a form of resistance.

Mohammed and Ahmad Abou Nasser’s Condom Lead (2013) meanwhile, explores the search for physical and psychological safety in the midst of war. The film follows a Palestinian couple with a baby living in Gaza during a 22-day military siege by Israeli forces that took place there in 2009. We see them each night as they make tentative gestures towards intimacy, only to be disturbed by the sounds of shelling and gunfire outside. 

The Israeli military operation depicted in the film was known as Cast Lead, and it’s from this that the film takes its name. Condom Lead is a powerful depiction of the impact that conditions of war have on people - and the impossibility of intimacy under such conditions.  

Finally, Nahed Awwad’s moving documentary Gaza Calling (2012) follows two families who have been torn apart, exploring the struggle to stay connected with loved ones under conditions of occupation.

Unable to reach each other physically because of restrictions placed upon them by the Israeli occupation, the families must stay in touch via the internet. We see them sending photos and videos to each other, and follow members of both families as they attempt to go through the legal and bureaucratic procedures necessary to acquire the appropriate permits required to travel to see one another.

We're also incredibly honoured to be welcoming the director of Gaza Calling, Nahed Awwad, to the cinema for a post-screening discussion.

Cinema Palestino Presents: Love and Desire in Palestine + Q&A is at the Showroom Cinema at 4pm on Sunday the 24th of February 2019.

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