Palestinian Voices: FROM UNDER THE RUBBLE
Arab Cinema ReImagined is the Arab Film and Media Institute’s Virtual Cinema Platform
Until the end of the year, AFMI is curating a series of short and feature films to amplify Palestinian Voices as a resource of information and context on the situation currently unfolding in Palestine.
The Gaza Strip is 28 miles long, and 3-7 miles wide crammed with an overflowing population of 1.7 million people [Note: now over 2 million], imprisoned, unable to move due to mechanisms of apartheid imposed by the Israeli Government. In January 2009, Israel’s air and ground forces entered Gaza, an incursion called “Operation Cast Lead,” (also known as the Gaza Massacre) where 3 weeks of heavy shelling, civilian executions, and experiments with white phosphorus rocked the small stretch of land, resulting in 1,400 Palestinian deaths. Strongly criticized by the United Nations, the massacre stands out as one of the most devastating incidents that has taken place in lieu of the Israel/Palestine conflict. Of particular note is the story of the Samouni family, farmers in the Zeitoun farming district in the southern sector of Gaza City, their land and neighborhood decimated during the siege, killing dozens of the family members most of which were women and children.
A detailed personal account of the adolescent/children survivors, director Anne Tsoulis’ From Under The Rubble: A Story From Gaza sheds light on the 2009 incident the world so urgently wants to forget, as stories of destruction, horror, and war crimes unfold. From gut-wrenching interviews with the survivors, Palestinian paramedics, a former UN official, and a Norwegian volunteer doctor with a heart of gold, to archival video taken by civilians during the conflict, alongside excerpts from the 2011 animated short film Samouni Street interspersed throughout, Tsoulis’ documentary isn’t for the faint of heart, but nevertheless is one of the most critically important films on the topic of the Gaza Massacre to date. Screened in the official 2017 selections of the Adelaide Film Festival and the Asia Pacific Screen Awards.