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The first feature film released by the Hamas movement premiered last weekend, and there are hopes it can even make it to Cannes.
August 4, 2009 11:09 by Aarti Nagraj
“It’s Hamaswood instead of Hollywood,” Fathi Hamad, Gaza’s Hamas interior minister, told AP after the debut screening of “Imad Aqel,” the first feature film made by Hamas. “We are trying to make quality art that is Islamic and about the resistance, without provocative (sexual) scenes,” he said.
“Imad Aqel” is named after Aqel, a Palestinian militant who was killed by Israeli soldiers in 1993. It tells the story of Hamas’s founding, attacks by Aqel on the Israeli military, and the signing of the Oslo peace accord between Israel and the Palestine Liberation Organization. The script was written by Mahmoud al-Zahar, a senior leader of Hamas, and according to Reuters the movie cost $120,000 and took 10 months to make. Four actors in the film were later killed in an Israeli offensive in the Gaza Strip last December.
According to The Jerusalem Post, the two-hour movie is action-packed, but has no romance, and all the female actors wear long robes and headscarves. The movie was shot on a production lot that Hamas hopes will grow into a $200-million media city, says the report.
Since the Gaza Strip doesn’t have movie houses, “Imad Akel” is being screened at cultural centers. The audience on Saturday cheered as the actor delivered the movie’s most memorable line, says Reuters.
“To kill Israeli soldiers is to worship God.”
Zahar says making movies is just another way for Palestinians to fight Israeli rule. “Resistance can be a word, a poem,” he told AP. Majed Jendeya, the movie’s German-trained director, told Reuters that he hopes to screen the film at the Cannes International Film Festival in France.
The movie is Hamas’s latest foray into the media sphere; it already operates a Gaza-based satellite television station, a radio station, and a dozen news websites.