The Palestinian “Westernization” of Hatem Ali … the image of the Nakba in our minds


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Talking about the absence of the nakba, as a story, in Palestinian cinema, we are brought back to it by the departure of the Syrian Palestinian director, Golani, Hatem Ali, who is the author of the most comprehensive work on the Palestinian Nakba in cinema and television. The most comprehensive nature of the series (31 episodes, 50 minutes each) compared to cinema, dealing with the Nakba, or its year, requires earlier and later stages, such as depicting the British colonial era, and the intercourse with the Jewish immigration to Palestine, and the attitudes, gifts and tensions that came with it, Specifically, what followed the Nakba, and in the first years after it, more than half of the Palestinian people entered a second life in refugee and camps.
It is not possible to recount the Nakba, with relative comprehensiveness, except by depicting what preceded it and what followed it, and this is what gives the series, by its nature, the characteristic of totalitarianism versus confined cinema, in general, with two hours or three hours or more, if the director is allowed (for production and distribution reasons) to do so.
Egyptian director Yousry Nasrallah had an exceptional experience in filming the Nakba, which is the most comprehensive in cinematography, in the movie “Gate of the Sun” based on his story about the novel of the Lebanese Elias Khoury, but it is a film of more than 4 and a half hours, which equals two long films, and it is not limited to filming Displacement of Palestinians, but rather returning to it in a prolonged “flashback”, at a current time for Palestinian guerrilla work, so the film is not comprehensive in its restoration of the Nakba, because of the conditions that preceded it and the conditions of the Palestinians, who were deserted and those who remained on their land.
No film is required to be comprehensive. This criterion will be, if we want it flexibly, in the case of the series with its episodes equal in duration (in the case of “Palestinian Westernization”) 13 films, with two hours each. Here, we can, at least in time, provide a detailed depiction of Palestinian life before and after the Nakba, and give the tragic moment during it, its space.
The series and the film are entirely Arab industry. In both “Palestinian Westernization” and “Bab Al Shams”, an integrated and diverse Arab effort, from writing to technologists and actors. Just as the main credit for the film “Gate of the Sun” was created by Elias Khoury’s novel “Gate of the Sun” before it was directed by the excellent and special director of Yousri Nasrallah (with a fundamental error in the actress’s choice of Nahailas character), so the high value of the series “Palestinian Westernization” belongs to its author and screenwriter Walid Saif, before she was a distinguished Arab work director, and perhaps the best Arab TV director, Hatem Ali.

This does not detract from the work of each of the two directors, but rather gives the written and documentary work, where the inclusiveness is very wide, regardless of any production limitations, and where the written research aspect is a priority, and it is among the most important points in dealing with a historical stage as is the Nakba. The achievement of each of the two directors remains the most appropriate and comprehensive adaptation of the valuable written text, and we are talking here about two historical texts. Fiction in characters and events, and their subjectivity, remain subject to the objective historical contexts and facts that control them.
Because the film here has a higher aesthetic value, due to its cinematic nature, it is an artistic film that was shown at the “Cannes Film Festival” in 2004, so comparing the series with it is not valid in terms of artistic work. The series depended on its depiction on documentary, moving away from artistry, and perhaps that is why it first succeeded in Adherence to the documentary side of the text, without artistic deviations (desirable in the film) and to gain the masses again, as it remains a television series, Ramadan and family shows, and this was the achievement of the first series.
The “Palestinian Westernization” finally came out in the most appropriate form for it, a family series that talks about the Nakba with the fewest possible complications,
By depicting the prevailing social conditions at the time, before and after the Nakba, to the extent possible for all family members, which made the series shown as well in 2004, one of the artistic references or visual definitions of the concept of the Nakba, which reached audiences like no film or book could do, Herein lies the merit of a brilliant director like Hatem Ali, who is the most capable, for his career before and after “Westernization”, over portraying a comprehensive script about the Nakba.
Hatem Ali tends to epics, and to history, to texts that can be, with directors like him, transforming them into artistic references for viewers, so what does not reach through the book to audiences who watch and do not read, or watch more than what they read, arrive in series, and this is what he did in the Taawon series. In it, with prominent writers and specialists – in some way – in history, such as Mamdouh Adwan and Walid Seif (and Ibrahim Nasrallah in an unfinished project is “The Time of the White Horses”). These series include “Al-Zeer Salem,” written by Adwan, “Salah al-Din al-Ayyubi”, “Saqr Quraish,” “Rabi` Qurtuba,” “Kings of Taifa,” and “Omar,” and these are all written by Walid Seif.
Palestinian filmmakers have not adequately paid attention to the Nakba as a main topic, with the exception of one film, “The Time That Remains” by Elijah Suleiman. Apart from Suleiman’s film, the two most important works about the Nakba were the two themes of this article, and the most influential work on the Arab viewer, the most shaping of the Nakba image in the Arab mind, the most historical, documentary, reference and mass work, the late Hatem Ali series “Palestinian Westernization”.

Palestinian writer


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