Palestinian Territories/United Arab Emirates/Germany/France, 2009, 63 minutes
Mon, Apr 26 / 7:15 / Kabuki / PORT26K
Tue, Apr 27 / 9:30 / Kabuki / PORT27K
Wed, May 05 / 2:30 / Kabuki / PORT05K
In the ancient port city of Jaffa in present-day Israel, Palestinian homeowner Salim has been ordered by the authorities to vacate the house that’s been in his family for over 40 years and to pay a fine for “squatting.” His lawyer tells him the most he can hope for is a settlement from the government-operated housing firm. Salim is angrily resigned to losing the family dwelling. Everything is unsettled inside and outside the beautiful old houses of the crumbling, once-wealthy district now being gentrified by Israelis. Salim and his sister, their dozing elderly mother between them, gaze fixedly ahead as if watching their time go by. The sister finds leaflets proclaiming, “We won’t leave,” but she’s not part of the organized opposition to expulsion—she sees the other soon-to-be-displaced households as mere red dots on a map. An old sea captain watches a 1980s Chuck Norris film shot on the streets of Jaffa, doubling for war-torn Beirut, while other residents engage in puzzling rituals. As Salim walks, his memories and point of view are overtaken by a Jewish man strolling and singing about his own nostalgia, or a cinematic gunfight between terrorists and Norris’s Delta Force on those same streets. Family photos and paintings swiftly come down so that an Israeli film crew can, ironically, memorialize the vanishing architecture of the indigenous residents. An awareness of the impending end hangs heavily over people’s everyday activities, as director Kamal Aljafari’s languorous camera captures a premature nostalgia for a neighborhood in photogenic decline.
Presented in association with Arab Film Festival. North American Premiere.