The Stone at the Top of the Mountain: The Films of Rashid Masharawi

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VOL. 34


No. 1
P. 23
The Stone at the Top of the Mountain: The Films of Rashid Masharawi

The films of Rashid Masharawi, one of the leading Palestinian "exilic" directors of the younger generation, are set almost entirely in the occupied territories, especially in refugee camps, and unfold in a seemingly timeless present shaped by a past catastrophe (1948) never explicitly evoked. The author examines Masharawi's some dozen films, both documentary and feature, thematically and technically, showing how the films' structure and camera work emphasize the sense of confinement, narrowing horizons, and psychological siege depicted. The author concludes that though almost relentlessly bleak and stripped of any hint of romanticism, the films also convey a stubborn will to survive and endure, and together present a powerful allegory of life in the occupied territories.

Nurith Gertz  is professor of cinema and literature at the Open University and professor of cinema and television at Tel Aviv University. She is the author, most recently, of Myths in Israeli Culture: Captives of a Dream (Vallentine Mitchell; 2000). This article is taken from a chapter that will appear in a forthcoming book on Palestinian cinema, coauthored with George Khleifi, whom the author would like to thank for his comments and insights on Masharawi and his work.