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AAUP Library and Archives Director - Ramallah Campus, Ms. Rola Shahwan, Participates in the Arab Film Festival in Berlin

Tuesday, May 7, 2024

Ms. Rola Shahwan, Director of the Library and Archives at the Arab American University - Ramallah Campus, has participated in the events of the fifteenth Arab Film Festival in Berlin, Germany last week. This year's festival was devoted to displaying and discussing Palestinian films related to the Palestinian conflict, whether old films revived and displayed, or new ones.

The festival had a distinctive representation of the Palestinian narrative on German cinemas and presented a Palestinian perspective to Arab and German audiences.

During her participation with Palestinian directors in the diaspora in a symposium titled 鈥淭o Talk About Palestine Here and Elsewhere,鈥 Ms. Shahwan focused on the role of cinema in creating a global state of solidarity with Palestine, clarifying the historical context of the Israeli occupation and its repercussions on the Palestinians, as well as highlighting the contribution of directors from different countries in using cinema to convey the Palestinian narrative to a global audience.

On the last day of the festival, Ms. Shahwan presented the film by French director and thinker Jean-Luc Godard, 鈥淗ere and There,鈥 which he produced in 1974, after he visited the sites of the Palestinian revolution in both Jordan and Lebanon, and met a number of Palestinian freedom fighter in advanced places on the fighting fronts. She explained that, through his film 鈥淗ere and There,鈥 Godard wanted to examine the possibility of combining academic theories with their practical practice, which calls for justice, liberation, and human values, in addition to testing the effectiveness of the cinematic film in reflecting the reality within the liberation movements as it is practiced in reality.

It is noteworthy that Godard's film was prevented from being displayed in the Arsenal Archive Hall, as was previously planned by the festival's management and those in charge of the archives. This ban came in response to the pressure exerted on cultural institutions in Germany by the German government to silence the Palestinian voice in light of the protests taking place in Berlin against the war of genocide against the Gaza Strip. As such, the screening was moved to the Wolf Hall, which can accommodate a limited number of audiences, after the latter agreed to display the film. The screening was followed by a discussion about the film with Ms. Shahwan, conducted by Dr. Iskandar Abdullah, one of the organizers of the festival. The dialogue focused on Godard鈥檚 experience and the effectiveness of the film, which is still relevant today in its critical view of individualism and indifference to the suffering of the Palestinians by Western peoples.

AAUP Library and Archives Director - Ramallah Campus, Ms. Rola Shahwan, Participates in the Arab Film Festival in Berlin