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Watani Habibi: My beloved homeland


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This rich musical exposè reveals the passionate voice of the Palestinian people. We hear the haunting sounds of traditional Arabic instruments: the Ney, the Qanun and the Oud, in harmony with songs of resistance. An unprecedented exploration of Palestinian protest music and dance which features the treasured singular voice of the traditional village singer, Jawaher Shofani; the warm melodic tones of the banished maestro of folk, Mustafa al Kurd and the youthful sound of Arab rap calling the world. The unforgettable Rim Banna sings her ballads of resistance for the children of the occupation. The youth of Sarayett Rammallah Troupe for Performance and Dance and El Fanoun Palestinian Popular Dance Troupe perform for their futures, they believe in the enduring richness and vibrancy of their artistic heritage.
This documentary provides a vision of the Palestinian people through their music and dance performances. Told through a series of parallel stories which all have cultural resistance as essential components from which we can reflect on the past and the future as well as the day to day realities of living life under occupation. Featuring key exponents of contemporary Palestinian resistance music, performing current and historically relevant songs from folk tradition to Arab rap and hip-hop. Each story revolves around peoples whose lives are linked to themes associated with their search for and desire for a better and free life. The difficulties they face in their daily lives as they live with fear, banishment, checkpoints and security passes; and the myriad daily frustrations imposed upon them by forces beyond their control. Performance is their voice to the world.
There is an unique human desire in all people for freedom, love and hope that is often expressed through music and dance in a manner that is universal and life affirming. Music is a way of expressing the ideas and thoughts, traditions and meanings of life within a culture. In particular, the people of Palestine have a history of reaction through protest songs. They are a form of expression that appear to be passive but are in fact instrumental in mobilizing and informing the people.
By filming the lives and the voices of the inhabitants of Palestine and the Palestinian Diaspora, we will gain an understanding of why they sing of “return”, “their homeland”, of “victory”, “their survival as a people” and their profound sense of grief for the death and destruction that has been visited on them as a people. Their music indeed reflects their hopes for the future and their belief in the enduring traditions of the past. The representation of the music will include traditional and contemporary musical forms.

There has always been a strong belief in the power of music as a theme common to all and in the power of the protest song as an instigator of change. Parallels to this narrative are found in the African/American Civil Rights movement, the struggle against Apartheid in South Africa and the peace movement that protested against the Vietnam War.
The landscape holds a particular space in the Palestinian memory and is reflected in songs of return, dispossession and yearning. The Palestinian longing for their homeland can be represented in a nostalgic desire for a return to a simpler life that they no longer are able to participate in. Families take picnics amongst the sun-soaked ruins of destroyed villages and show their children the pomegranate trees that continue to grow in the old courtyards.
They remember a more perfect place where they inhabited the hills and valleys for longer than living memory, whose sacred sites fill their music, stories and imaginations.

Item Type: Video
Additional Information: Screenings at the following International Film Festivals: 1.Monterray, Mexico: Monterray 3rd International Film Festival, August 2007. 2.Palestine Film Festival,The Mall Cinema, Doha, Qatar; 15th May, 2008. 3. 2ª Mostra Internacional de Filmes do Oriente, Centro Cultural São Paulo, São Paulo, Brazil, May 2008. 4.Images of the East, Maringá Park Shopping Centre, Paraná, Brazil, August 2008. 5.Palestina 1948-2008: 60 Anos Da Al Nakba. Cinema Cineplex no Shopping JL Cataratas em Foz do Iguaçu, Foz do Iguaçu, Brazil, November 2008. 6.Palestinian Days Film Festival, Brisbane, October 2009. National Film Festival screenings: 1. SPARK 2008, International Festival of Media, Arts and Design, Waikato Institute of Technology, Hamilton, New Zealand, August 2008. 2. Canterbury Film Society, Christchurch, July 2008. 3. Tauranga Film Society, Tauranga, August 2009. 4. SPARK 2010, International Festival of Media, Arts and Design, Waikato Institute of Technology, Hamilton, New Zealand, August 2010.
Uncontrolled Keywords: Palestine, music, resistance, politics, dance, film
Subjects: D History General and Old World > D History (General)
H Social Sciences > HM Sociology
H Social Sciences > HN Social history and conditions. Social problems. Social reform
J Political Science > JA Political science (General)
M Music and Books on Music > M Music
P Language and Literature > PN Literature (General) > PN1993 Motion Pictures
Divisions: Schools > School of Media Arts
Depositing User: John Mandelberg
Date Deposited: 12 Jan 2012 22:43
Last Modified: 21 Jul 2023 02:41

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