QUEERING THE FRAME
Say Amen! Tagid Amen!
Director: David Deri
(65 minutes, 2005, Israel)
Now that most of their children have moved away, Aliza and Masud Deri live by themselves in a small southern town in Israel. All their children have married, except their youngest son, David, and they have become obsessed with the idea of his marriage. David, however, is 26 and gay. He finds himself in the delicate situation of staying true to who he is and coming out to his orthodox Jewish parents, who constantly pray for him to find a “woman,” “home,” and “family.” His brothers and two close sisters play a part in this warm, funny and heart rending story that reveals the best and the worst in the Deri clan as they join David in his journey to selfhood.
Between the Lines – India’s Third Gender
Director: Thomas Wartmann
(94 minutes, 2005, Germany)
This documentary follows photographer Anita Khemka as she explores the hidden hijra subcultures of Mumbai. Since she was a child, Khemka has been fascinated by the lavish femininity and spiritual powers of the outcast hijras – biological men who dress as women but reject identification with either gender. Following three hijras, Khemka enters the vibrant yet struggling hijra communities, openly discussing many intimate details of their lives. Uniquely engaging because of Khemka’s ability to initiate personal dialogue about femininity, sexuality and persistent cultural stereotypes about gender, this film provides deep insights into a social group that is a growing leader in the struggle for gender and sexuality rights in India.
INHERITANCE OF OUR PASTS
Leila Khaled Hijacker
Director: Lina Makboul
(58 minutes, 2005, Sweden)
Sitting in the departure lounge at the Leonardo da Vinci Airport in Rome Leila Khaled looked like a stylish lady. No one would have guessed what she was about to do. In her white designer dress and matching sun hat, she held her handbag tight. Flight TWA 840 would depart in a few minutes; it’s destination Tel Aviv. She and fellow hijacker, Salim, would be comfortable in the first class cabin. It was August 29, 1969. Minutes later twenty-four year old Leila Khaled became the first woman ever to hijack an airplane. One year later, she did it again. A moving narrative tells the story of Leila Khaled, a freedom fighter to some and a terrorist to others.
Shake Hands with the Devil: The Journey of Roméo Dallaire
Director: Peter Raymont
(90 minutes, 2004, Canada)
In 1994, over 100 days, an estimated 800,000 men, women and children were brutally murdered in Rwanda, a small country in Central Africa. The victims were Tutsis and moderate Hutus who supported them. One man was tasked by the United Nations to maintain peace in Rwanda – Canadian Lieutenant General Roméo Dallaire. But unsupported by U.N. headquarters and its Security Council in New York City, Dallaire and his handful of soldiers were incapable of stopping the genocide. Ten years later Dallaire returns to Rwanda to confront the past. Digging deep into devastating memories, he constructs a picture of those frightful 100 days when Rwandans suffered not only genocide, but betrayal and racism in the arena of international politics and abandonment by the global community.
Inclusion: Makes Everyone Happy
Director: Sahlil Chaturvedi
(1 minute, 2005, India)
This short, humorous animated film looks at the serious subject of accessibility and equal rights for people with disabilities by showing how a ramp may be used by different people in different ways, thus making the point that an inclusive society benefits all.
Mitumba – The Second Hand Road
Director: Rafaelle Brunetti
(53 minutes, 2005, Italy)
This is the simple story of a t-shirt’s journey from the northern hemisphere to the southern hemisphere as told by people involved in the second-hand clothing trade. The story begins in Hamburg shadowing the t-shirt of 10-year old Felix, a football fan. Four months later the t-shirt arrives in a Tanzanian village. Along the way, the t-shirt encounters many people whose livelihoods revolve around the buying and selling of second-hand clothes, until it reaches 9-year old Lucky, another football fan with a passion for t-shirts with numbers on the back.
Director: Rehad Desai
(64 minutes, 2006, South Africa)
When South African filmmaker Rehad Desai travels to the Kalahari to investigate global interest in ancient Bushmen knowledge, he meets Jan van der Westhuizen, a Khomani San traditional healer. Jan’s struggle to live close to nature is hampered by centuries of colonial exploitation of the San Bushmen and their land. Unable to hunt and gather, the Khomani now live in poverty. However, one plant could make all the difference. Hoodia, a cactus used by Bushmen for centuries, has caught the attention of a giant pharmaceutical company. This documentary features the breathtaking landscape of the Kalahari and shows us a world where modernity collides with ancient ways at a time when each has come to rely on the other.
IDEOLOGIES OF THE CITY
Director: Ravinder S. Randhawa
(10 minutes, 2006, India)
Anurag is on his way to a job interview but will need to stop for a shave because he has no razor at home. Finding a barber open for business will be difficult as riots have been over for only a few days. Anurag finds a barber, however, but he is Muslim. This short documentary examines stereotypes that inform contemporary Islamophobia.
Director: Paromita Vohra
(54 minutes, 2006, India)
As this film observes who has to queue to pee, we begin to understand the imagination of gender that underlies shifting boundaries between public and private space in a futuristic Mumbai. In the Museum of Toilets, at a night concert, in a New Delhi international toilet, in a Mumbai slum, we hear the silence that surrounds toilets and sense how similar it is to the silence that surrounds inequality. The toilet becomes a riddle – about gender, class, and caste, and most of all about space, urban development and the myth of the global metropolis.
John and Jane
Director: Ashim Ahluwalia
(83 minutes, 2005, India)
A blend of observational documentary and tropical science fiction, John and Jane follows the stories of six call agents who answer U.S. 1-800 numbers in a Mumbai call center. After a mix of U.S. culture training and 14-hour night shifts, the job soon starts to take its toll. Counter pointing the fluorescent interiors of late night offices with the uneasy currents swirling around the characters, we discover a young generation of urban South Asians who are beginning to live between the real and virtual as we share in their struggle to find what it means to be Indian in a globalized world.
CHILDREN AND INHERITANCE OF OUR PASTS
First Lesson in Peace
Director: Yoram Honig
(56 minutes, 2005, Israel)
When six-year old Michal, an Israeli girl, is about to start school, her father decides to write her a letter in the form of a film. Michal’s school is Neveh-Shalom or Wahaht-al-Salam (the Oasis of Peace), a bi-lingual Hebrew and Arabic school for Jewish and Palestinian children, the first of its kind in Israel. Her parents’ decision to send her to this school is not uncomplicated – her grandfather is a Zionist and her uncle is overtly right wing, and as Michal has her first encounter with Palestinian children and Arabic as a common language, her parents and extended family face their own conflicts and challenges. The film reaches a crescendo on Israeli Independence Day, which is also Palestinian Al-Nachba (the Day of Disaster), bringing all those featured in the film into sharply differing views and situations all demonstrating the great complexity and enduring difficulties of the conflict in West Asia.
Director: Kristina Konrad
(84 minutes, 2005, Switzerland and Nicaragua)
In 1979, Nicaragua had just freed itself from a 45-year dictatorship and was attempting the impossible, hoping to triumph over poverty and discrimination, within a system of political plurality and a mixed economic system. Twenty-five years after a revolution that no one believed was possible, Director Kristina Conrad returns to a neo-liberal Nicaragua battered by war and corruption and sketches a narrative of memories and observations of the current state of affairs. The film features women who took up arms against the U.S.-funded Contras and now struggle to survive.
- Human Rights Film Festival 2006
- Human Rights Film Festival 2008