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Palestinian film at GOMA – ‘Salt of this Sea’

Milh Hadha al-Bahr (Salt of this Sea) 2008 Ages 15+

Milh Hadha al-Bahr (Salt of this Sea) 2008 Ages 15+

Sun 14 April 3.00pm / Cinema A

35MM, COLOUR, DOLBY SR, 109 MINUTES, PALESTINE/BELGIUM/FRANCE/SPAIN/SWITZERLAND, ARABIC/ENGLISH/HEBREW (ENGLISH SUBTITLES) / DIRECTOR/SCRIPT: ANNEMARIE JACIR / CINEMATOGRAPHER: BENOÎT CHAMAILLARD / EDITOR: MICHÈLE HUBINON / PRINT SOURCE/RIGHTS: PYRAMID

INTERNATIONAL

‘Born and raised in Brooklyn, Soraya travels to Palestine to retrieve her grandfather’s savings, frozen in a Jaffa bank account after his 1948 exile.

Struggling to feel at home in the land of her ancestors, she meets Emad, a young Palestinian whose ambition, contrary to hers, is to leave forever.

Stubborn, passionate, and determined to reclaim what’s theirs, she and Emad set out on a road trip for poetic justice across a lush Palestinian (now Israeli) landscape — after which there is no return.

Annemarie Jacir’s debut represents a fresh, viscerally affecting, and definitive statement from second-generation Palestinian Americans.

Rife with symbolism, the colour-saturated lensing of Palestinian landscapes and evocative score make palpable the yearning and frustration of a quest to reclaim what was stolen.’ – Roya Rastegar, Tribeca Film Festival

The first feature film from Palestine by a female director, Salt of this Sea is the politically and emotionally explosive story of Soraya (Suheir Hammad), a Brooklyn-born woman of Palestinian lineage who comes to Israel to search for the land and ancestral home near Jaffa from where her grandparents were ejected 60 years ago. Once she arrives, reality strikes hard and her mission to claim what is hers and fulfill her lifelong dream to “return” to Palestine is obstructed at every turn. Having discovered that her grandfather’s bank account was frozen and seized in 1948, she goes to the new Ramallah branch of the bank to claim the funds. Frustrated and deluded when her demands are rebuffed, she and her new Palestinian boyfriend Emad decide to take control of their own destinies by every means possible – even if it means breaking the law. — (C) Lorber

One response to “Palestinian film at GOMA – ‘Salt of this Sea’

  1. As I walked out at the end of this film I turned to the man beside me and said that it was a good film.

    He replied – “but it was depressing”

    I said: “Surely the occupation can’t last? Look at at Australia, people are still upset about the taking of the land 230 years later”

    He replied: “Yes but I was talking to a friend who is an editor of a newspaper and he doesn’t even accept that we live on stolen land! … I told him he doesn’t even have to do anything all he has to do is accept it – and he can’t even do that”

    I liked this film for what it was trying to say – the protagonist Soraya (Suheir Hammad) is longing for right of return which seems a dream when we see what happens at the border, going through customs, the interrogation by Israeli soldiers, the defeated attitude of the Palestinian Authority, the refusal by the British Palestine Bank to return the money her grandfather had worked so hard for.

    This film summarised the failure of Zionism to understand the Palestinian sense of belonging through generations – it highlights the naivety of the ‘Peace Now’ movement about their belief that Israel is a project that can be reformed.

    For a while the bank robbery in the film seemed a strange plot twist but in the end delivered the message that all Palestinians are outlawed in their own land. As one of the characters said ‘we’d be arrested in the West bank for robbery; and in Israel for being Palestinian.’ It was strange that the filmmaker dressed the protagonist in the burka to commit the bank robbery when throughout the rest of the film Soraya wore western dress. However tt was good that the filmmaker did not ‘sexualise’ Soraya in her relationship with her boyfriend.

    Try to find this film, it is worth watching – I wondered throughout how the filmmakers possibly could have got away with making a feature length film like this in Israeli controlled Palestine. You may find the answer lies in this explanation:

    Ian Curr
    15 April 2013

    Like

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