Middle East crisis at Zim film festival

Itai Mushekwe

THE Middle East crisis will take centre stage at this year’s Zimbabwe International Film Festival (ZIFF) slated for August 25 under the theme “In Ani

mated Reality”, Independent Xtra can reveal.

Through two feature films and one documentary namely Paradise Now, Zozo and Just married, local film fans will be treated to over four hours of intriguing motion picture works, which touch on this volatile part of the world using human interest story lines.

Paradise Now studies the persona of two Muslims on the West Bank, Said and Khaled, selected for a suicide bombing mission in Tel Aviv. The moving 90-minute feature film is a collaborative effort involving five countries — France, Germany, Netherlands, Israel and Palestine.

Directed by Hany Abu-Assad and produced by Bero Beyer, Paradise Now shows how the two chosen bombers become not just vehicles of revenge but humans entangled in relationships with mothers, dead fathers and prospective girlfriends.

Ultimately, their choices are relative: between the Paradise in their heads and the hell they live in.

For its well synchronised plot, the film was nominated for Best Foreign Language Film at the Academy Awards earlier this year, while it pocketed the Golden Globe Award for Best Foreign Language Film.

Zozo on the other hand is a 103-minute Swedish production focusing on a young boy called Zozo who grows up in Beirut and in spite of the civil war, leads a normal life with family, friends and school.

However, tragedy strikes and the young boy is torn from his family and is forced to define his own life.

His only hope is a reunion with his grandparents in Sweden who are unknown to him.

The documentary Just Married is directed by Ayelet Bechar and tells of two Palestinian couples who decide to marry knowing that it will be impossible for them to live together in Israel, as pass laws forbid certain Palestinians from living in Israel.

The film is an emotional roller coaster that tests the two young couples to their limits in the first year of their marriages.

Zimbabwe International Film Festival Trust director, Rumbi Katedza, said the films were relevant in light of the conflict in the Middle East adding that it is imperative for people to be educated about what is going on there.

“These three films are very relevant in the light of the ongoing conflict in the Middle East,” said Katedza.

“People must be aware of what is happening in the world around them, learn from mistakes and demand an end to war as it is often innocent people who suffer the most.

“Film is a very important medium as it has the power to bring messages to the entire world. As individuals we may watch the news and ignore the suffering of those in war-torn countries, but when you watch a film, and identify with the characters, the situation tends to become more real,” she said.

ZIFF is the country’s premier motion picture festival showcasing local and international film products.