Press Review: ‘Palestine Palestine’

original Article: le monde, mar 16, 2002

Forbidden To Live

Dominique Dubosc is not a Middle-East specialist, he is a documentary filmmaker, one of those who work in close contact with film and sound and who reflect on the imaginary and the real world and how to represent it.
In the West Bank, from March to May 2001, the filmmaker followed a puppet-master from village to village – and filmed Dheisheh refugee camp’s daily life: a blockaded life but ongoing nevertheless, the sense of humour, the obtacles,the suffering, in a continuous coming and going beween the three parts of the film which was conceived as a Flemish triptych painting, and at the same time, a subtle homage to the film-director Johan Van der Keuken.

Catherine Humblot

original Article: les inrockuptibles, mar 16-26, 2002

A fresh media look at the Near East conflict

These days, being pro-Palestinian does not necessarily mean being either a left-winger or even being anti-Zionist. The problem has become so real and desperate. A clear-cut, text-book case of a human rights matter.
Recent films such as Palestine Palestine by Dominique Dubosc and Gaza,The Confinement by Ram Loevy need to be seen to begin get some idea of what is involved. The two films say the same thing, namely that the Palestinians are the captives of the Israelis and that they suffer the consequences. Or, as Dominique Dubosc stresses in Palestine Palestine, « Sometimes a people is caught in another people’s dream. Zionism is one such dream. The dreamer, in this case, is Israel. The prisonner of the dream is the Palestinian people ».
Just as in the past when the Jews of Europe were herded into ghettoes by people of European stock and forbidden by them to carry out certain professions (such as agriculture), now it is the Palestinians who have become, in turn, a landless people, and they see their existence regulated and constrained by one thousand three hundred military orders which Israel has imposed on them. For instance « It is forbidden to import or to use a tractor or any agricultural appliance without permission ».
Palestine Palestine begins during the second Intifada when the filmmaker follows a couple of Palestinian puppet-masters on their rounds, in the first and third parts of a film which he has conceived of as a triptych. A good way of dealing with the subject in the simplest possible terms: how to explain to children what their parents have to go through each day. How the language of poetry renders oppression.
The film switches from shows in schools, to the puppet-players on their travels and the endless obstructions they face including a meeting with real military personnel, amongst others.

The second part gets more to the heart of the matter with « some
insights into the life of the refugees in the camp of Dheisheh
near Bethlehem. » The «expressionist » paintings of a Palestinian artist, scenes of curfews forbidding the Palestinians to leave their houses and various deprivations they suffer as a result of the famous Israeli « military regulations ».

With Palestine Palestine, this thoughtful, serene and pictorial documentary, Dubosc is far from throwing oil on the fire. Relatively few images of violence or war, apart from one rather raw one, and no hysteria. The film convinces by its detachment, by its scenes of the everyday life of ordinary Palestinians as they collect the refuse, go through a checkpoint taking someone’s wife to the doctor, play football in the dust, at prayer, or treating the injured, and burying the dead.

Vincent Ostria

original Article: politis, mar 21, 2002


« La Lucarne » is the name of the documentary film collection of TV channel ARTE, which is shown late at night, and which highlights cinema with unusual points of view which is hard to categorise. Its films, high points of independently produced cinema, aim to report on world matters from unusual angles and in a subjective way. This week’s film « Palestine Palestine » is no exception.

Its maker, Dominique Dubosc, spent five months in the Occupied Territories. What he gives us is not in the order of an explanation
nor a political analysis it’s more « my inner, personal impression ». And this impression is governed by the sense of « noncompliance ». Daily noncompliance by the Palestinians with half a century of occupation, of injustice, and slurs. If it does not come up in the course of the documentary, Dominique Dubosc hints at this idea at the start of the film. It concerns the 1300 military regulations decreed during 35 years in the Occupied Territories. The list includes regulations which border on the absurd. « It is forbidden to draw water from above or below ground without permission, to plant fruit trees without permission, to read certain books, to travel… »
The film takes the form of a triptych. Perhaps, explains Mr Dubosc, it is because he « saw a lot of Brueghel and Bosch paintings before leaving for Israel. »
The entire documentary is a web of scenes like small pictures inside the main picture, passing glances, moments of existence. There are solemn scenes, revolting scenes and comic and light-hearted ones. They all grip your attention because they are so full of atmosphere.

Marie-Edith Alouf

original Article: Télérama

A Declaration of Love

With no commentary (apart from the long list of laws governing life in the Occupied Territories), and without analysis, one simple scene of everyday life follows another till suddenly brute violence breaks out, with stones hurled and shots fired from automatic weapons. Dubosc films that instinctive revolt, which he refers to, citing André Breton, as « noncompliance ». More than a politically engaged documentary, Dominique Dubosc’s film is above all a declaration of love, in images, made to a people who for more than half a century have lived in appalling conditions.

Nicolas Delesalle

original Article: Les Cahiers du Cinéma, Dec, 2003

In 2001, Dominique Dubosc spends several months, camera in hand, in the Palestinian territories. He brings back a very full and comprehensive document which is both sensitive and clear, called« Palestine Palestine » and which deals with the « local » essential reality of the situation. Two years later the DVD version gives us the opportunity to test the political effectiveness of this new medium. And all the more so since Dubosc’s film has nothing of the propaganda handout about it.
The additions to the original film, starting with the return to the location, and reunions with the characters in the film (…) all work as little mental « search engines » on the state and developments of the situation in the region.
Being able to combine with the film itself, legal texts (300 pages of military regulations decreed by the occupying army), an analysis of these very texts (Rami Shehade),and texts of political thought (Amira Hass, Ashaf Oron, Azmi Bishara), allows interaction to take place between the different means of transmisssion and expression.
The best possible use of multimedia resources is made here.

J.-M. Frodon