Lina Soualem, filmmaker: “We are only interested in Palestinians in moments of tragedy” | Future Planet | EUROtoday

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One of the primary childhood recollections of Lina Soualem (Paris, 1990) is the scent of the tasty fried eggplants with garlic that her grandmother made in Deir Hanna, a Palestinian city positioned within the north of Israel, the place her great-grandparents arrived in 1948, after being expelled from their residence in Tiberias. His documentary transports us to this place Bye Bye Tiberiaswherein she tells the story of the Palestinian ladies within the household, beginning together with her mom, the famend actress Hiam Abbass, who has labored on the collection Succession and acts in movies like Gaza my loveParadise now, Blade Runner 2049 o The lemon bushes.

In the function movie, in competitors on the Tarifa African Film Festival, the place it was screened on Wednesday, one breathes the urgency of rescuing recollections, placing wounds on the desk and uniting totally different chapters of household historical past earlier than its protagonists disappear. . “When I film my grandmother I am filming many women with similar stories that have not been told. I wanted to capture that memory and transmit it,” explains Soualem, whose first movie, Their Algeriarevolved across the household of her father, actor Zinedine Soualem.

The battle in Gaza, which broke out in October, a month after the premiere of Soualem's documentary, has turn out to be an surprising backdrop within the worldwide journey of Bye Bye Tiberiaswhich represented Palestine on the final version of the Oscars and can start distribution this fall.

Ask. Do you suppose your movie good points better resonance because of the present context?

Answer. I perceive that at this second there are individuals who give it explicit consideration and that it awakens an curiosity that maybe at one other time they might not have had. But what is occurring is just not new to us. I began writing the script for this function movie in 2017 and in it I already talked concerning the sturdy dehumanization and stigmatization that Palestinians endure and the truth that their historical past is just not acknowledged. We are solely within the Palestinians within the moments of tragedy, that are actual and a part of their historical past, and we don’t have a look at their each day lives or their each day resistance, which consists of surviving and residing.

P. At what second did you determine to inform the story of your mom and different ladies within the household?

R. I feel I at all times needed to make this film, however I needed to direct first Their Algeria, about my Algerian household and their exile. Without her, I might not have been in a position to face Bye Bye Tiberias as a result of it was more durable for me to speak about Palestine than Algeria. The story of my Palestinian household is a fragmented story filled with ache, which is framed in a collective tragedy that’s nonetheless ongoing. In my first movie I realized loads, particularly take care of the transmission of exile by cinema, as a result of it’s one thing invisible and infrequently unspeakable that may be informed because of the reflection that the photographs present us.

P. His first two movies are about his household. Is it a circle that has already closed?

R. Don't know. I actually needed to convey these two household tales to the flicks. I take into consideration my Algerian and Palestinian grandparents and I really feel that their intimate historical past is way more than that: it’s a collective historical past, of people that have been made invisible and marginalized. When I movie my grandmother I’m filming many ladies with comparable tales that haven’t been informed. I needed to seize that reminiscence and move it on.

I take into consideration my Algerian and Palestinian grandparents and I really feel that their intimate historical past is way more than that: it’s a collective historical past, of people that have been made invisible and marginalized.

P. At one level within the movie you say: “Behind our smiles, I know that fear is latent within us. What if everything we have left of this place disappears? “I was born far from this lake, but I feel very close.”

R. I used to be born in Paris, however there have been issues which have at all times been transmitted to me, for instance, the concern of loss. That's why we cling to the reminiscence, to the traces we now have and maybe it was essential to leap a number of generations to have the ability to make this movie.

P. Her function movie stars ladies, in entrance of and behind the cameras.

R. I’ve grown up with them. In my mom's household they’re the guardians of the temple of household reminiscence and I needed to painting them of their complexity and authenticity as a result of I consider that the Arab girl, particularly in Western cinema, is both represented as a conventional and conservative particular person, or as a being free who abandons every little thing, typically to go to Europe, as if that have been the mannequin of freedom. And the ladies from this place that I do know are neither one nor the opposite, however a mix of many issues: they respect traditions and cultural values, however they’re very trendy and have managed to make a lot of their aspirations come true, typically making a battle together with his household however with out separating from it.

P. Have doorways closed on you, particularly since final October, for having directed a movie that talks concerning the expulsion of his mom's household in 1948 and the nostalgia of the diaspora?

R. Surely there are issues I don't know, however I really feel privileged as a result of since September, when it was launched, the movie has been proven in lots of locations, and it has not been censored or withdrawn from any competition. It has been screened within the United States, France, Germany… And I’ve had the chance to current it and lend my voice to defend it.

P. We are at a movie competition the place there are a number of feminine administrators and screenwriters from the Arab world who’ve been pioneers in a really masculine world.

R. They have paved the way in which for us and now, after we make movies, we aren’t remoted and alone. There has been plenty of transmission of information from extra skilled filmmakers. When I made my first movie there have been feminine professionals from the Arab world who supported me loads, akin to Azza Chaabouni. I used to be 27 years outdated, I had not finished something earlier than… Supports like yours allowed me to exist. Currently, we now have created a collective of younger filmmakers from the Arab world referred to as Rawiyat, which implies storytellers. We give one another recommendation on productions, contracts, festivals… I like that solidarity in an setting as aggressive as this.

When a girl tackles a mission about one thing distant, a historic movie, for instance, she is straight away questioned, whereas a person receives congratulations. Women are rapidly delegitimized

P. One of those ladies who has paved the way in which, the Moroccan Farida Benlyazid, mentioned at this competition that ladies filmmakers inform the tales of the soul. Do you agree?

R. I feel ladies concentrate on very intimate tales, as if that they had completely understood that the intimate is essentially the most common and reaches the most individuals. And many instances additionally they go for that subjectivity as a result of when a girl tackles a mission about one thing distant, a historic movie, for instance, she is straight away questioned, whereas a person receives congratulations. Women are rapidly delegitimized.

P. Have you felt delegitimized?

R. Yes. We at all times need to do extra to persuade. First of all, we now have much less funding. And that signifies that after we make the primary movie we don't earn sufficient and it is rather tough for us to make the second, as a result of we now have to do different work in between to acquire funds. The actuality is that there are numerous ladies who direct their first movie and by no means make the second, even when they’ve been profitable.

P. At the start of the movie, her mom is reluctant to delve into the household's historical past and asks her to not reopen “the suffering of the past.” Now what does she consider the end result?

R. It was very exhausting for my mom to come back ahead, however ultimately she informed me that she had at all times needed to inform the lives of her mom and grandmother and that she had even written poems about her grandmother, however she didn't know strategy this job. Now, seeing that her recollections are there eternally, she feels a sort of aid and satisfaction, as a result of the historical past that has marked her a lot is palpable, she is there.

P. What is your subsequent mission?

R. For now, I’m devoted to the presentation of Bye Bye Tiberias in numerous nations and festivals. For me it is very important be there, to elucidate issues myself, with my voice, and never have them converse for me. It can be a option to combat towards the stigmatization of Palestinians.

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