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Posts Tagged ‘Jihad el Zein

“Sleepless Nights” and the Clown (Me In)

Clownme-in. blogspost.com posted this Oct. 26, 2013

Sleepless Nights ( documentary dir. Eliane Raheb)
Through the stories of Assaad Shaftari, a former high ranking intelligence officer in a Christian right wing militia, responsible for many casualties in the protracted civil war in Lebanon, and Maryam Saiidi, the mother of Maher, a missing young communist fighter who disappeared in 1982, the film digs in the war wounds and asks if redemption and forgiveness are possible.  One of the scenes shows bits of the process from when Assaad Shaftari was taking a Clown Me In workshop.Naturally, Gabriela Munoz and Sabine Choucair were thrilled to have Assaad Shaftari going through the workshop. Moreover, we were very happy to have been involved in such an important movie like “Sleepless Nights”.I have been reading and hearing lots of controversial reactions toward this scene. ( mostly extreme ones)

Below some bits and pieces from different articles. Would love to hear your thoughts in case you’ve watched the movie.
And if you haven’t yet, it is still showing in Lebanon @Metropolis Empire Sofil, Achrafieh, at 4:30 pm, 7:15pm and 10:00pm ( until the 30th of October)
Shattuck Cinemas (Berkeley)
Oct. 26, 2013 2:30 pm
bits and pieces: 
“في الفيلم مشهد يلعب فيه أسعد الشفتري دور المهرج، كل من يشاهد الفيلم سيصاب بنوبة محددة أثناء مشاهدته ربما ضحك وربما بكاء، وربما سترتسم على وجهه ضحكة والدموع تنهمر. مشهد المهرج يحملنا الى العلاقة الجدلية بين الأمل والمسامحة الذاتية وعلاقة الآخرين وموقفهم من الجريمة. ظهر في عيون أسعد أنه لم يسامح نفسه، يقول ابنه في أحد المشاهد ” لازم يخفف اعتذارات “. ربما هو لن يتوقف عن الاعتذار لأنه لم يعترف بكل الأخطاء بعد. ” 
In the film, Assaad Chaftari plays the role of a clown. While watching this scene you will surely feel something extreme, you might laugh or cry, and maybe smile and cry at the same time. This clown scene leads us to the dialectical relationship between hope and self-forgiveness and the relationship with others. we could see in the eyes of Chaftari that he did not forgive himself. His son says in one of the scenes: ” he should apologize less“. Maybe Chaftari won’t stop apologizing because he did not confess all his sins yet“. 
“قالت لي سيدة صديقة بعد العرض أنها لم تجد مبرّرا لمشهد تمثيل أسعد الشفتري دورَ “المهرّج” كما لو أنه خرج عن موقعه في فيلم وثائقي. أنا كان رأيي العكس تماما. لقد بدا المشهد أحد أقوى عناصر الفيلم وأكثرِها إبداعاً. إنْ لم يكن أقواها. كان هذا المشهد، الذي أدّاه الشفتري بنجاح، التعبيرَ – الذروةَ عن المسافة الشاسعة عن نفسه التي استطاع تحقيقها. كانت قدرة مفاجئة على التهكّم على نفسه. التهريج بمعنى المعاقبة الشديدة للنفس. وبهذا كانت لحظةَ قوّةٍ للفيلم ولأسعد الشفتري لا لحظة خِفّة… غيرُ التوثيقيِّ أي المتخيَّلُ يؤكّد قوّةَ التوثيقي أي الواقعي. أكاد أجزم: يؤكّد صحة التوثيقي.” جهاد الزين- جريدة النهار


“A lady friend told me that she did not find any justification for the scene where Assaad plays the role of a clown, as if he came out of his position in a documentary film . I had the exact opposite opinion. The scene was one of the strongest and most creative parts of the film. This was the scene where Chaftari alienated from himself.  He had this great capacity of ridiculing himself. Clowning in the sense of self punishment and for that this was a moment of strength etc…” Jihad El Zein, Annahar newspaper
“In other places, the film appears to fragment its images for the sake of style. It veers into outright surrealism late, when Abbas is shown acting as a clown during a therapy session. The filmmakers think this is important enough to title this section of the film, “The Clown,” but I found it digressive and mannered, a quality that it transfers to the overall film itself. It tends to recast Abass’s participation in the reconciliation process as a farce, though that’s admittedly the point. These kinds of arty excrescences are an encumbrance on a film that is probably too long.” krelllabs.blogspot.com
“In one morbidly hilarious and satisfying scene Saiidi bitingly dismiss the psychobabble of a therapist blithely sweeping matters under the rug; in another, Shaftari performs as a clown in a theater exercise. These are “scenes” in the sense that Raheb is constantly searching for new twists and turns on engaging with and reconsidering the past. ” Nicolas Rapold, filmcomment.com
 “Sleepless Nights spins to an almost surreal final act, as the performative aspects of cultural “remembrance” are shown in clown, shows and cheesy songs.” Robert Greene, Hammer To Nail.com
“Raheb supplements the film’s emotional palette with sparks of humor – often in the wry observations of Shaftari’s wife and son – and a peculiar moment near the end of the film when the retired assassin is shown performing during a clowning workshop, red nose and all.” Jim Quilty, The Daily Star
في أحد المشاهد الختامية، تتبع المخرجة الشفتري في جلسة علاجية يتحوّل فيها الى مهرّج، ونراه للمرة الاولى في وجه مختلف. ساندرا الخوري Albaladonline
In one of the final scenes, the director follows Chaftari to a therapy session where he becomes a clown, and for once, we see a different face of him. Sandra El Khoury, Al Balad Online newspaper

Part 2. Israel formed a war “unity government”: The Palestinian Authority formed what?

You might be interested to start with part 1: https://adonis49.wordpress.com/2012/05/16/israel-formed-a-war-unity-government-the-palestinian-authority-formed-what/

Israel Netanyahu PM changed his mind: Instead of his promise for an early election, he formed a “unity government” with Kadima and its leader Shawul Mofaz. Why?

Israel “unity government” is indeed a war cabinet: Israel is getting ready to confront two urgent problems to tackle:

First problem: The inevitable Fourth Palestinian Intifada (civil disobedience) has already started silently two months ago, and all indicate a full-fledge development:

1. Israel was forced to agree on all the demands of the Palestinian prisoners who waged a month-long hunger strike. More than two months ago, the two prisoners Bilal Diyab (27) and Thaer Halahela (34) crossed the dangerous hunger strike of 75 days. A month ago, 3,000 Palestinian prisoners, out of 4,500 started their hunger strike.

Egypt intervened in the negotiation and Israel agreed yesterday on all the demands of the prisoners. Mainly:

1. Releasing all prisoners in isolation cells: scores have been in isolation for over 10 years.

2. Dropping the antic British mandate apartheid administrative detention laws: 310 prisoners were jailed administratively and were not sent to trial. Under this emergency/curfew law, Israel authority could detain any Palestinian (exclusively Palestinians) for 6 months, renewable at will.

Actually, 60% of Palestinian youth entered this revolving door, just to keeping them out of circulation.

3. Allowing the families in Gaza to visit their members in jails. Prisoners from Gaza suffered undue harshness and complete isolation.

4. Permitting prisoners to continue their education…

5. Israel will return the dead bodies of 100 Palestinian martyrs, many of them died in prisons…

Mind you that in several occasions in the past 50 years, Palestinian prisoners engaged in hunger strikes and Israel would agree on deals, and then renege on them shortly after, and the prisoners had to suffer from the same humiliating tactics in prisons…

2. Israel is preparing to execute a new apartheid plan that Kadima approves, and was submitted to many institutions and military officers. Henry Sigman (see note) uncovered the secret apartheid program to be executed in the West Bank in Zones C.

Neftal Bennett, former cabinet secretary to Netanyahu and former director of the settlers council in Yehuda and Samaria, discussed and disseminated his apartheid new program in the occupied West Bank. What is this plan?

1. Israel and unilaterally (as usual), will grab the lands in zone C (as agreed upon in the Oslo deal) and annex all the town and villages to the State of Israel. Palestinians in zone C are about 150,000, and the program envisions to give Israeli passports to only 50,000 of these Palestinians. Where the other 100,000 Palestinians will be “transferred” to?

2. All of Jerusalem will be under total Israel security authority.

3. Israel will deploy its security umbrella to all of the West Bank

4. Gaza will be split from the West Bank and attached to Egypt

5. Deny all Palestinian refugees outside of Israel from returning to even zone A under the Palestinian Authority. Mind you that the UN guaranteed their right to return in 1948.

Apparently this new apartheid plan received good responses from the government coalition political parties and many veteran military officers.

Israel unity government has the task of executing this apartheid new plan, and very soon. The Palestinian Intifada is going to be protracted.

Netanyahu didn’t want to be singled out as the scapegoat during the many troubles ahead of the massive Palestinian civil disobedience movement, and wanted falsely demonstrate that all of Israel is behind this apartheid program.

While Israel is forming a unity government, what this Palestinian Authority of Mahmoud Abbas was doing for an entire year?

Last May 4, 2011, Mahmoud Abbas and Hamas (in Gaza) agreed to form a unity government, hold an election, and strengthen the institutions…in this May 4, 2012. The date had come and gone, and nothing was accomplished.

It appears that the new Palestinian middle class (nouveaux riches) in the West Bank and many academics are squeaky of a deal with Hamas (read link in note 2). Why?

This class of Palestinians think that any deal with Hamas will send the strong signal or message that an Intifada is on a hot burner.  And they don’t want any upheaval at this junction, and Israel is facilitating the illusion of prosperity and fairer behaviors with this middle Palestinian class.

The Lebanese correspondent Jihad el Zein to the daily al Nahar covered the conference in Cyprus in April 27 under the banner “Arab and Israel struggle in the light of the current changes”.  He said: “Each time I meet with a Palestinian coming from the West Bank  I ask him: “how long it took you to reach destination?” In general, it is an hour trip from Ramallah to the Jordanian border, but Palestinians spend 10 hours on the various checkpoints and lengthy investigation…This time, the academic Palestinians from the West Bank admitted it took them only about an hour and 30 minutes…”

Nabil Kassis, from the West Bank said: “In the past, when a faction split from the Palestinian Liberation Organization, the faction lost all credibility. This time around, it is the main organization that is suspected of deviation and lose credibility…”

The Hamas delegate Ghazi Hamad was the only member of the Palestinian delegation and he said: “I read all the papers and notes of the negotiation between Fateh and Hamas, and could not find a single word related to the religious issues…”

Sound very promising on civic mentality ground, though religious difficulties should be discussed head on, since there is no way to circumvent it being confronted to the rising tide of the Moslem Brotherhood movements… The Palestinians are the most educated and applied civil laws, and the people who experienced struggle in all its shape and forms.  The Palestinians are set be the prime catalyst to show the way to the “Arab States” citizens for a civic life-style and democratic systems

The middle class Palestinians and academics in the West Bank must have realized that it was Hamas that reaped the victory and the benefits from the hunger strike.  They have to decide: Shit or get off the seat. The Intifada is coming with the speed of a bullet train and you have got to take side and demonstrate steadfastness for the long haul.

Note 1: Henry Sigman uncovered the secret apartheid program to be executed in the West Bank in Zones C. Sigman is the former director of the Jewish American council.

Note 2: https://adonis49.wordpress.com/2012/04/20/palestinian-scholar-change-of-mind-two-state-alternative-failed/


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