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Palestinian CinemaLandscape, Trauma and Memory$
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Nurith Gertz and George Khleifi

Print publication date: 2008

Print ISBN-13: 9780748634071

Published to Edinburgh Scholarship Online: September 2012

DOI: 10.3366/edinburgh/9780748634071.001.0001

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From Bleeding Memories to Fertile Memories

From Bleeding Memories to Fertile Memories

(p.59) 2. From Bleeding Memories to Fertile Memories
Palestinian Cinema

Nurith Gertz

George Khleifi

Edinburgh University Press

The chapter describes how the Palestinian documentary cinema created in the seventies in exile – in Jordan and particularly in Lebanon – responded to Palestinian ideology and to the role designated to cinema by the organizations that supported it: constructing the Palestinian national narrative as part of an international revolutionary struggle. In this cinema the individual represented the national collective, its struggles, and its fate, which was perceived as stagnant and unchanging. The portrayal of the present, moreover, merely amounted to a reconstruction of the past – a restoration of the fixed structure of profound tranquility that had been disturbed by the sudden violence of 1948 and which is continuously reflected in each and every present event depicted. Thus, rather than being experienced as a living reality, life in the refugee camps was perceived not only in its own right but also as a repetition or an echo of another experience from an earlier era. Since the present time was considered dead, hollow, and non-existent, it was deemed suitable for reviving the past. Such preservation of the 1948 trauma and what had preceded it served as a focal point of identification and consolidation for the entire Palestinian people.

Keywords:   refugee camps, history of Palestinian cinema, Palestinian trauma, time, space

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