Mon 3 July 2017 | 7:00 pm - 10:00 pm
CCA Tel Aviv - 2a Tsadok HaCohen St., Tel Aviv, 10 NIS
Looted and Hidden – Palestinian Archives in Israel
By Rona Sela
Akin to a detective novel, four characters are involved in a plot to unravel the fate of the Palestinian film archives that were looted throughout the 20th century. However, unlike a detective novel, all the characters are real, and the narrators lead the plot through letters and monologues.
The film Looted and Hidden focuses on a number of groundbreaking institutions that were plundered: The Palestine Research Center, the Palestinian Cinema Institution (PCI) and the Cultural Arts Center (CAS) of the PLO. These bodies were among the first to document Palestinian existence and to preserve, research and chart the visual and written Palestinian history from the late 1960s onward. Looted and Hidden, the first film devoted to the subject, follows pioneering, bold, and idealistic creators and directors and the archives they built, focusing mainly on the cinematic enterprise created by the CAS and PCI. Tracing their pillaging, administration and control – censorship, denial of access, and erasure – the film raises questions about archival institutions in areas of conflict and points, as in detective work, to the need to dig into the invisible and hidden in order to reveal what has been erased or rewritten.
Each of the film’s narrators portrays a real character who has been linked to the fate of the archives, including Khadijeh Habashneh, director and manager of the PCI archive and cinematheque, and Sabri Jiryis, director of the Palestinian Research Center. The film also follows the work of Ismail Shammout and Tamam Al-Akhal, two important post-Nakba Palestinian painters who founded the PLO’s CAS, as well as singer Zainab Shathat. The film follows them through Fassuta, Amman, Beirut, and Tel Aviv.
Looted and Hidden is based entirely on archival materials, long-term research, and in-depth interviews with key figures. The transcripts of the interviews were adapted into monologues or personal letters. The film includes excerpts from the 1970s film The Urgent Call (directed by Ismail Shammott, music composed and performed by Zeinab Sha’ath) that, like many other Palestinian archival materials, was considered lost until now.
Rona Sela is a researcher of visual history and curator. Looted and Hidden is her first film
The film is in English
** A Q&A with director Rona Sela and with Mr. Sabri Jiryis, former director of Palestine Research Center will follow the screening **