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Chicago Palestine Film Festival

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The Chicago Palestine Film Festival continues Friday, April 18, through Friday, April 25. Screenings will be at Women in the Director's Chair Theater, 941 W. Lawrence, and Beverly Arts Center, 2407 W. 111th St. All screenings are free, but reservations are encouraged; for more information call 312-560-6661. Following is the schedule for April 18 through 24; a complete festival schedule is available on-line at www.chicagoreader.com.

FRIDAY, APRIL 18

Jeremy Hardy vs. the Israeli Army

British comedian Jeremy Hardy travels to Bethlehem in March 2002, just in time for the siege of the Church of the Nativity. Director Leila Sansour will lead a discussion after the screening. 52 min. Also on the program: Nabila Irshaid's Austrian short Travel Agency (2001, 8 min.) and Sobhi Zubaidi's Palestinian short My Very Private Map (1998, 20 min.). (WIDC Theater, 7:00)

SATURDAY, APRIL 19

Short films, program one

Our Dreams . . . When? (2001, 16 min.) is a collaborative effort by a group of Palestinian refugees in Lebanon. Video Petition Project: Artist Emergency Response is a work in progress that documents North Americans' opposition to Israeli policy toward Palestinians. (WIDC Theater, 1:00)

The Moon Sinking

Ahmad Habbash directed this feature (2001, 50 min.) about a diverse group of strangers trying to make sense of their lives as the end of the world draws near. Also on the program: Eyad Zahra's five-minute short 3azima. (WIDC Theater, 1:30)

Haifawi

A documentary (2000, 52 min.) about elderly Palestinians who've remained in Haifa since the war of 1948-'49. Darwish Abu al-Rish directed. (WIDC Theater, 2:40)

Short films, program two

Helga Tawil directed Not Going There . . . Don't Belong Here (2002, 25 min.), about Palestinian refugees in Lebanon. Nizar Hassan's Istiqlal (1994, 25 min.) looks at the dilemma of Palestinian citizens of Israel during the nation's celebration of its independence. (WIDC Theater, 7:00)

Ustura

This 1998 feature by Nizar Hassan documents the lives of three generations of the Khalil family against the historical backdrop of their exile from Palestine. 93 min. (WIDC Theater, 8:00)

SUNDAY, APRIL 20

500 Dunam on the Moon

Rachel Leah Jones directed this 2002 DV documentary about a Palestinian village "depopulated" by Israelis and turned into an artists' colony. (WIDC Theater, 1:00)

Diogenes Ansar III

Dutch filmmaker Hans Fel directed this 1998 documentary about Ansar 3, the Israeli detention camp opened after the 1987 intifada. 50 min. (WIDC Theater, 2:00)

I'm a Little Angel

Hannah Musleh's 2002 Palestinian documentary tells the story of three children in Bethlehem during the second intifada. 45 min. (WIDC Theater, 3:00)

People and the Land

Tom Hayes directed this 1997 documentary about U.S. foreign aid to Israel in light of the latter's conduct in Gaza and the West Bank. 57 min. (WIDC Theater, 4:00)

This Is Not Living

Alia Arasoughly documents the lives of a cross section of Palestinian women in this 2001 documentary. 42 min. (WIDC Theater, 7:00)

In God's House

The siege of the Church of the Nativity in April 2002 was an event whose political and religious ramifications were felt around the world: during the Israeli army's invasion of the West Bank, Palestinian militants took refuge in the Bethlehem church that commemorates the birth of Christ, and for more than a month Israeli forces surrounded the building while the U.S., the United Nations, and the Vatican tried to negotiate an end to the standoff. Director Yahya Barakat collects some interesting testimony from the Roman Catholic and Greek Orthodox monks who endured the siege, but his 42-minute video documentary is essentially a work of agitprop that depicts the Israelis (without interviewing any) as murderers and blasphemers. The closing shot, in which a crowd of weeping Palestinian women confront a group of Israeli soldiers, is indicative of the overall rhetorical tone. Because reporters were initially barred from the scene, early news accounts from both sides of the conflict were exercises in political spin; we could use a corrective history of the episode, but this isn't it. (JJ) (WIDC Theater, 8:00)

Palestine, Palestine

A French-Palestinian coproduction about a puppet show touring schools of the West Bank during the second intifada. Dominique Dubosc directed this 2001 documentary. 76 min. (WIDC Theater, 9:00)

MONDAY, APRIL 21

Short films, program three

Two Palestinian shorts. Rawan Damen's Waiting for Light (2000) focuses on two Christian women in the West Bank during Holy Week. Nada el-Yassir's Four Songs for Palestine (2001, 13 min.) is about a Palestinian mother and her child. (Beverly Arts Center, 7:00)

Invasion

Nizar Hassan directed this documentary (58 min.) about an Israeli soldier who took part in the assault on the Jenin refugee camp. Also on the program: Hassan's Challenge (2000, 20 min.), about the difficulties he encountered while trying to make a film about Mohammed al-Durra. Hassan will lead a discussion after the screening. (Beverly Arts Center, 8:15)

TUESDAY, APRIL 22

Khiam

Jonana Hadjthomas directed this 2000 Lebanese documentary about six prisoners in the Khiam detention camp. 52 min. (Beverly Arts Center, 7:00)

The Olive Harvest

A young woman in Ramallah is engaged to a journalist but falls for his older brother, a poet and activist, in this Palestinian drama by Hanna Elias. 90 min. Also on the program: Abdel Salam Shehada's Palestinian short Debris (2001, 18 min.). Elias will lead a discussion after the screening. (Beverly Arts Center, 8:00)

THURSDAY, APRIL 24

Bethlehem 2000 Project: The Last Five Short Films of the Millennium

A 90-minute anthology of five Palestinian shorts commissioned for the millennial celebration in December 1999. Directed by Azza al-Hassan, Mai Masri, Subhi Zobaidi, Rachid Masharawi, and Elia Suleiman. Also on the program: Mahmoud al-Massad's Shatter Hassan (2001, 40 min.), a fantasy about a Palestinian junkie living in the Netherlands. (Beverly Arts Center, 7:00)

Rana's Wedding

A soulful Palestinian beauty (Clara Khoury) in occupied East Jerusalem receives an ultimatum from her father: if she hasn't married by the following afternoon, she'll have to accompany him to Egypt. This lively 2002 feature by Hany Abu-Assad follows the determined young woman as she races around the city trying to locate her lover and a registrar so they can tie the knot, a project endlessly complicated by the rioting, roadblocks, and heavy security that are part of everyday life in the occupied territories. At one point the heroine, frustrated by a dying cell phone, makes a motion to dash it to the ground and finds herself staring down the rifle barrels of a half-dozen frightened Israeli soldiers. Given the tension dogging her every step, I wondered if this would end in bloodshed, but Abu-Assad opts for a more hopeful conclusion, making his film--strange as it may seem--a comedy. 90 min. (JJ) (Beverly Arts Center, 9:00)

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