Nadia Yaqub’s recent book “Palestinian Cinema in the Days of Revolution” (University of Texas Press) offers a valuable survey of Palestinian cinema, from its pre-history in the early photographs and films made by international relief organizations, up to its birth out of the Palestinian Liberation Organization’s struggle against the Israeli State. Yaqub details the narrative of victimhood that dominated early visual documentation of Palestine, as presented by organizations like the American Friends Service Committee and the United Nations Relief and Works Agency. Such films depicted Palestinians as “seen but not heard, and their statelessness and victimhood are presented as timeless, ahistorical facts, rather than the results of a process of violent dispossession culminating in the Nakba in 1948.”
True Palestinian cinema, created by and for Palestinians, only emerged in the late 1960s. “Palestinian Cinema in the Days of Revolution” examines the goals of and cinematic techniques used by these artists, while carefully compiling the remnants of these works that were confiscated and destroyed during the Israeli invasion of Lebanon in 1982.
“Palestinian Cinema in the Days of Revolution,” reviewed by Michael Teague, is scheduled to appear in the forthcoming Al Jadid, Vol. 24, No. 78, 2020.
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