YIDFF 2007 New Docs Japan
Ghada: Songs of Palestine
An Interview with Furui Mizue (Director)

See the Daily Lives of People in Palestine

Q: This film was fresh for me because much of the news about Palestine comes from Israel, not from Palestine.

FM: It is impossible for the media to tell the whole story. The newspapers have limited space, and TV has limited time for dealing with this. Also, it is easy for the viewers to get the wrong impression about what really happens there because the media tend to focus on the shocking events. If these events seem to repeat themselves everyday, people will start to think “Here it goes again.” But, if I can show the face of a living person, and if they get hurt or killed, our hearts will be moved and people will understand that these events involve real people, and are more than news reports. If I did not show those scenes, I would never be able to describe the real Palestinian situation. That is why I photographed not only the collisions, but also the normal daily life for the first five years with my still camera. When I started to video-tape in 1993, I decided to shoot the daily life even more closely.

Q: I got the feeling that you were influencing Ghada quite a bit.

FM: I get that a lot, but what is most important here is the fact that Ghada is a very capable person. She is extroverted, and her personality and her way of living are very different from mine. I was often dragged into things while being with her, like being featured on TV. Her power has greatly contributed toward making this film, and probably without her, this film would never have been completed. I feel like “my influence” on her had little or no effect on this film.

Q: Has Ghada seen this film? If so, what was her reaction?

FM: She has watched the almost-finished version with a little different ending. She rejoiced with me that this film was completed. You know, Palestine is viewed by the media as an opposition force against Israel, or maybe even something bigger . . . like terrorists. It is depicted as if they have the ability to go into war. Sometimes, it even gives the impression that Israel is the victim. That is why she consented to my filming this from the Palestinian viewpoint. She had gone though periods when she could not trust the media.

Q: What did you want to say through this film?

FM: I just wanted to tell people that Palestinians are human beings just like us. That’s because I felt that way the most, when I went there. Kids there wanted to get more education. You know, normally kids don’t like to study, but then, people always want something they don’t have. There are many kids in Palestine who want to study. Those who want jobs don’t have places where they can work. There are those who want to raise some kids, but then the children might get killed. I wanted to tell of the people there who wish to live as normal human beings. That is why I used the average person’s viewpoint. Not a famous person. I chose Ghada out from among nameless people. Ghada does stick out quite a bit in her society, but I wanted my viewers to see their daily lives through an average woman like her.

(Compiled by Mineo Kazunori)

Interviewers: Mineo Kazunori, Kimuro Shiho / Translator: Paul Mikaelsen
Photography: Nishioka Hiroko / Video: Nishioka Hiroko / 2007-10-07