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CULTURE & COMMUNICATION / 3000 nights, a film by Mai Masri: Palestine is a woman
Date of publication at Tlaxcala: 29/11/2017
Original: 3000 nuits de Mai Masri: La Palestine est une femme

3000 nights, a film by Mai Masri: Palestine is a woman

Rim Ben Fraj ريم بن فرج

Translated by  Jenny Bright


This article is a tribute to the Palestinian people on this 29 November, the anniversary of Resolution 181, in which 33 UN member countries voted for a partition plan for Palestine, of which, to date, only one point has been applied: the creation of a Jewish state.

After 70 years of the existence of the State of Israel, imposed by force in the name of the slogan "a land without a people for a people without land", it can be noted that, if there is a domain in which the Palestinians have succeeded, it is that of film. From Hany Abou Assad to the brothers Arab and Tarzan Abu Nasser via Michel Khleifi, Elia Souleiman and Mohamed Bakri (to name only the best known), they make documentary or fiction films, or sometimes docu-fiction films, which are always firmly anchored in their history and their struggles. The latest addition to the field of fiction is Maï Masri. The daughter of a Palestinian father and a US mother, she directed nine documentaries, including four with her Lebanese husband Jean Chamoun, before tackling fiction, with her masterpiece, 3000 Layla (3000 nights).

Screened at festivals and pro-Palestinian events around the world, the film entered the trade circuits in nine countries, and was distributed to some thirty cinemas in France.

She accepted the Bronze Tanit and the Best Screenplay Award, richly deserved, which she won at the 2016 Carthage Film Festival, in addition to the numerous prizes already awarded in Washington, San Francisco, Rotterdam, Bastia, Annaba and elsewhere.

Filmed in Jordan, in the former military prison of Zarka, the film represented this country, of which the Film Fund was co-producer, at the 89th Academy Awards in Hollywood last February.

Based on real events, 3000 nights plunges us back to the 80s, on the eve of the Sabra and Shatila massacre: the Israeli jails were full of Palestinian political prisoners, a revolt was brewing.

Layal, a young teacher in Nablus, sentenced to 8 years in prison for an attack in which she was not involved, finds herself in a cell with Israeli common law prisoners; she adapts little by little to the stifling prison environment, meanwhile she discovers that she is pregnant, and decides to keep the child.

The Palestinian prisoners showed solidarity with Layal after giving birth, turning this event into a celebration. They consider little Nour as their son. Layal will refuse until the end to partake in the blackmail practiced by the Israeli prison guards to let her keep Nour beside her by becoming a snake. Caught between the repression of the female guards and the common law Jewish prisoners, the Palestinian prisoners will be able to unite in their diversity - a mirror of the diversity of Palestinian society - to lead an open fight, violently repressed but at last victorious. Finding herself in the open, Layal, abandoned by her husband (to our great relief) will be able to continue her march to freedom.

3000 Nights is a women's movie. The acting of the actresses, many of whom are not professional, is remarkable, especially that of Palestinian women playing Israeli roles, where they seem more real than the real thing. On this "land without people" which has now become overpopulated, there is no need for a contest to work out who wins, morally. There are 61 Layals today in Israeli jails, and 300 Nours.

Courtesy of Tlaxcala
Publication date of original article: 29/11/2017
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Tags: 3000 NightsMai MasriPalestinian CinemaPalestinian prisonersIsraeli jailsPalestine/Israel

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