On Netflix and elsewhere, new collections of Palestinian and Israeli films are now available to stream

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(JTA) – Some of Netflix’s biggest international hits in recent years – from “Fauda” to “Shtisel” – have been imports from Israel. Now, the streaming giant is also shining a light on Palestinian entertainment.

Last week Netflix published a collection “Palestinian Stories” made up of what he said was 32 films, although only 27 films were listed in the category in the United States on Monday. Of the selections available, which span the past two decades, 12 of them are short films.

A mix of drama, comedy and documentary, many films focus on relations between Palestinians and Israelis, in particular the Israeli army; a few also include American Jews in their plots. Most, but not all, are Palestinian directors; several were produced with the participation and cooperation of Israelis. At least one director comes from a Jewish family. Netflix has said that more Palestinian films will eventually be added to the service.

Palestinian filmmakers appreciated the opportunity to give their stories a wider platform. “All of us in the Palestinian film industry look forward to sharing our story with the world through our authentic creative productions as an alternative to news reporting,” May Odeh, director of “The Crossing,” said in a statement. Netflix press release.

Netflix added that the collection “would showcase the depth and diversity of the Palestinian experience.”

Here are some of the notable entrees available in the United States:

  • “Omar”, directed by Hany Abu-Asad, was nominated for an Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film 2013 – the second Palestinian film to be nominated in the category, after Abu-Asad’s “Paradise Now” and the first to be identified as originating from “Palestine” rather than “Palestinian”. Territories. It’s a drama about a Palestinian baker who becomes an activist and has to make deals with the Israeli government while behind bars.
  • “Ave Maria”, a satirical short film directed by Basil Kahlil, was nominated for the 2016 Oscar for Best Live Action Short; his plot follows a family of religious Israeli settlers whose car breaks down in the West Bank, forcing them to depend on a group of nuns for help. (Another Palestinian short film on Netflix, 2020’s “The Present,” was also nominated for an Oscar.)
  • “Chronicle of a Disappearance” and “Divine Intervention” are the first two feature films from acclaimed director Elia Suleiman, who is often hailed as Buster Keaton’s heir for his largely silent comedic vignettes and tongue-in-cheek humor acting as a fictionalized version of himself. . “Divine Intervention,” from 2002, was the very first Palestinian film to submit to the Oscars and, after considerable controversy over whether the Academy considered “Palestine” qualified to submit a nomination, was accepted for nomination. exam (although not nominated).
  • A handful of selections are led by women, including 2014’s “Mars at Sunrise”, directed by Jessica Habie, a Florida-born former West Bank resident who identifies as being from a “Judeo-Arab family of” Guatemalan ancestry “. The film follows the relationship between a Palestinian artist and an American Jewish poet as the artist reveals a traumatic incident during an altercation with an Israeli soldier.
  • Five films are by director Mahdi Fleifel, who grew up in the Palestinian refugee camp of Ein el-Helweh in Lebanon (and whose production company is called Nakba Filmworks). Felifel’s filmography is a mixture of dramas and documentaries about the life of Palestinian refugees in Greece and Lebanon: “3 logical exits”, “A drowning man”, “A man has returned”, “Xenos” and ” A world not ours ”.
  • “Ghost Hunting”, directed by Raed Andoni, is a documentary in which former Palestinian prisoners of Israel reconstruct their detentions for the camera.
  • “Giraffada,” a family-focused animal game directed by Rani Massalha, follows the adventures of a Palestinian vet and his son as they convince an Israeli vet to help them smuggle a giraffe from Tel Aviv to West Bank so that she can find a breeding partner.

For those looking for even more films from the region, the Israel Film Archive in Jerusalem today launched a digital version of its collection, making around 250 narrative films – from a mix of Israeli and Palestinian directors, some dating back to. ‘as far back as 1928 – available online. The vast majority of these films can be streamed for free from the archive website; some are chargeable.

Among the films highlighted in the archives are collections highlighting great international hits from Israel and innovative Israeli directors like Amos Gitai.

The archive said its entire digital collection will be available in North America, although a platform read on Monday revealed that many of its films were still not available to stream from the States. -United. Many of the movies available to stream don’t have English subtitles, and unfortunately, there’s no easy way to navigate among those that do.


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