Thursday 16 November 2023

Jenin, Jenin [2002]

Jenin, Jenin, as cinema of resistance, was at once powerful, defiant and lucid in how Palestinian actor and filmmaker Mohammed Bakri used a series of interviews – shorn of peripheral contexts and expositions; disquieting in its recording of blazing emotions; and providing rare agency to the voiceless – to craft a polyphonic memorialization of the oppressed, the dispossessed and the persecuted. The radical treatise, despite its brevity, exhibited a harrowing reminder of repressive settler colonialism being faced by the Palestinian people ever since the occupation, through the devastating crackdown and violence that the impoverished residents of Jenin’s refugee camp – located in West Bank – faced at the hands of Israel’s military during “Operation Defensive Shield” in 2002. It, therefore, emphatically evoked the broader picture through its intense specificity, and, in turn, fiercely chronicled the inseparability of the personal and the political for Palestinians, irrespective of whether they’re rebels, partisans, activists or regular civilians. Bakri’s camera unwaveringly captured the rage, despair and sorrow of the survivors – a broken aged man; a livid grandmother; a bitter middle-aged man; a feisty doctor; a helpless father; a heartbroken mother; a disoriented disabled guy; and an unforgettably furious adolescent girl representing the next generation of resistance – through their testimony of what unfolded. Their stirring refusal to capitulate, even at the face of apartheid and tyranny, powerfully stood out. This therefore served as one of many brutal examples of collective punishment that Palestine have faced in the past, thus making it especially pertinent to the gargantuan monstrosity that’s taking place today. Unsurprisingly, the documentary was censored and banned in Israel, while Bakri faced harassments and became a pariah for his courage and dissidence in challenging the mainstream narrative.

Director: Mohammed Bakri

Genre: Documentary/Essay Film

Language: Arabic

Country: Palestine

No comments: