An Interview with Dahna Abourahme (Director)
I Want to Shoot Palestinians from New Angles
Q: You said that you started filming after encountering four families through a video workshop in Palestine, but how did that encounter specifically change your outlook?
DA: The character of documentaries is that a lot of different things happen in the course of filming, which in turn impacts what you want to shoot. Every time something happens, the work turns into something different from what you had in mind at the start. When I encountered the four families, I decided to focus on them instead of filming a lot of people. That was because I felt something powerful from those four families. At the same time, I decided to intimately film their daily lives since I was interested in showing the lives of Palestinian people. And I decided to focus on them because documentary filmmakers don’t have big budgets. Also, filmmakers, including myself, usually want to shoot from new angles. So I wanted to film from an angle different from the image of Palestinians to date.
I was able to come into contact with a lot of different people through the workshop, and I was able participate in the camp too. The experiences at the workshop laid the groundwork for this film. The workshop was held at a youth center, so the fact that we were able to have a lot of contact with young people had a significant impact on this film.
Q: In the question and answer session after the screening, you spoke about the period when there was a lot of discourse about the U.S. boycott against Palestine from 2001 to 2002. Did those kind of political issues have some kind of impact on this film?
DA: We had a chance to discuss the boycott which happened in the U.S. with other filmmakers. It came out that there was a problem because of the prejudice against Palestinians in the media. We thought the boycott might be related to this. That discussion was one of the ideas behind this film, but after all, the encounters at the workshop had the most to do with the film.
Q: Through showing interviews of three generations in this film, you made it easy to understand Palestinian history and their way of thinking, but what aspects did you focus on when you made the structure for the film during the editing?
DA: If anything, I emphasized the young people. In depicting three generations, of course they are all important, and naturally it is necessary to look back on the past. The perspective looking back to the past is also very important, but when thinking positively about the future of Palestine, I thought the young generation was important so I focused on them. In actuality, the responses of many people who have seen the film have been that the comments by the young people left a big impression. I think that’s because they are the voices of youth, who hold the key to the future. Because young people are also our own hope.
(Compiled by Ishii Rei)
Interviewers: Ishii Rei, Inotani Yoshika / Interpreter: Saito Shinko
Photography: Inotani Yoshika / Video: Oki Chieko / 2005-10-12