GAZA brings us into a unique place beyond the reach of television news reports to reveal a world rich with eloquent and resilient characters, offering us a cinematic and enriching portrait of a people attempting to lead meaningful lives against the rubble of perennial conflict. Throughout its entire history the Gaza Strip has been witness to conflict and upheaval. From ancient times this tiny coastal territory, located at a crossroads between continents, has been a pawn whose fate rested in the hands of powerful neighbours.
Little has changed today.
Blockaded by Israel and Egypt, Gaza has witnessed three wars in the past decade alone. After Hamas came to power in 2007, the blockade began, sealing Gaza’s borders. The effect of this siege has been devastating. Almost two million Palestinians now live in poverty. Unemployment sits at 50%, electricity is available for only four hours each day, and the water is now largely undrinkable. The United Nations has publically said that the Gaza Strip will be unlivable by 2020.
Facing the serene Mediterranean Sea, 19 year old Karma Khaial stands at the water’s edge and senses freedom. But in Gaza, the sea is yet another wall restricting the lives and dreams of its inhabitants.
This elegantly shot portrait of Palestinian life offers a rare chance to be immersed in the heart of Gaza, as we glimpse behind the walls of this misunderstood land to get to know the real people who inhabit it. Inside a Gaza City taxi, we meet a teacher, a student and a barber, who all share their dreams and daily predicaments with the driver, Ahmed, using surprising humour and candour. Ahmed could take them anywhere except that a decade old blockade makes it nearly impossible to leave the enclave.
Like its people, Gaza’s landscape feels kaleidoscopic: colourful yet pained, fragile yet resilient, ancient while looking to the future. Memory plays heavy on its consciousness. But life moves in cycles in Gaza and in spite of everything, joy and humanity can be found in every corner of this mosaic of life.
BBFC Advice: strong threat, injury detail, images of real dead bodies.
Running Time: 1hr 32mins
BBFC Advice: 15
Director(s): Garry Keane, Andrew McConnell
Year of release: 2019