News TimeZaman Al-Akbar
PALESTINE / 2001 / Arabic / Color, B&W / Video / 52 min
Director, Script, Narrator, Producer: Azza El-Hassan
Assistant Director, Sound: Lamees Khoury
Photography: Azza El-Hassan, Saed Andoni
Editing: Nidal Abu-Diab, Fadi Rida
Production Company, Source: Yamama Creative House
P.O.Box 1901, Ramallah, West Bank PALESTINE
Phone: 972-50-260800 Fax: 972-2-2959960
Azza El-Hassan lives in Ramallah city, West Bank, the center of the Palestinian conflict. As the political reality worsens throughout the winter of 2000–2001, she finds herself unable to locate a film crew, since everybody is occupied in covering the news. Casualties and clashes of the Intifada are reported by journalists—why is the everyday life of ordinary people never filmed? She starts with her neighbors’ sweet love story, life-size episodes of good people with names and faces. But the couple decides to escape when war jets begin shelling the city. What about the four young boys hanging around the neighborhood? They are found to spend their time practicing how to throw stones....
[Directors Statement] “At a time of war and conflict, the making of a documentary film becomes the only means of entertainment.”
October of last year, I found myself, like everybody else around me sitting in my house in front of my TV watching a war that was taking place in my main street.
I felt angry and helpless. I wanted to make sense of what was happening, and did not know how. Eventually, I took refuge in the only method of search and expression that I know. I began making a film about myself and my neighbors.
In News Time I wanted to resist a time in which we as Palestinians are viewed as news material. I wanted to capture life and small details that were being lost in day to day war. Instead, I found myself making a film about the various layers of death that confront you as you live war.
In News Time I form a triangle with what are supposed to be three separate stories. My childhood story, the love story of my landlord and his wife and the reality of the children in my neighborhood. Yet, the three stories soon become one. They are a story in which the safe elements of life that is family, love and harmony are lost in a war situation and only bad childhood memories are engraved into the mind of various generations of Palestinians.
Received her BA in Film and Television Studies and Sociology from Glasgow University in 1993 and her MA in Television Documentary from Goldsmith College, University of London. Born and bred in the Palestinian diaspora. Returned to Palestine in 1996 and remained to make films about Palestinians living under occupation. Thought that her first film in Palestine would help her get it out of her system; when this did not work, stayed on to keep trying. Subsequent films include Arab Women Speak Out (1997), Title Deed from Moses (1998), screened in New Asian Currents at YIDFF ’99, Sinbad is a She (1999) and The Place (2000).