x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 24 July 2017

Israeli filmmaker Amos Gitai's Ana Arabia highlights Arab-Jewish connections

A new movie tells the tale of a young journalist who visits a tiny community of Arabs and Jews living in Jaffa.

The Israeli filmmaker Amos Gitai's film Ana Arabia is in competition at the Venice Film Festival. Gabriel Bouys / AFP
The Israeli filmmaker Amos Gitai's film Ana Arabia is in competition at the Venice Film Festival. Gabriel Bouys / AFP

The Israeli filmmaker Amos Gitai says he made his latest film Ana Arabia, which is in competition at the Venice Film Festival, because "peace is not a perfect equation".

"With Ana Arabia we wanted to rise to the challenge of doing a single, 81-minute take," said Gitai, whose movie tells the tale of a young journalist who visits a tiny community of Arabs and Jews living in Jaffa.

"There are no cuts because I didn't want there to be any breaks in the connection between the Jews and the Arabs, between the Palestinians and the Israelis."

The film is based in part on the true story of a Jewish woman born in a concentration camp, who converted to Islam to marry a Palestinian man, keeping her origins secret for 50 years.

Gitai said he was inspired by an article by the Jerusalem journalist Majeda El-Batsch on the woman, and his own 30 years of documentary work about a small community where Arabs and Jews live side-by-side.

"We have to find a way to coexist. It's not about do-gooding, we are all about contradictions. But peace is not a perfect equation, it is a personal choice taken by people who want to resolve conflicts without killing," he said.

The director, known for his films based on Middle Eastern conflict, said: "We must, at a given moment, put an end to this infinite fight which no one even understands any more.

"Cinema must play a part in that dialogue, and ask the necessary questions."- AFP