Seeking Solace in Art
From Crisis to Creativity: Exploring Palestine Through Film
As I sat down at my computer repeatedly throughout this past week, I’ve grappled with the question of what I can contribute to you and our Substack community that holds real value. Each time, I found myself at a loss for words and, truth be told, devoid of inspiration. The ongoing events in Palestine and Israel have cast an immense shadow on my thoughts, consuming my attention.
It’s a profound challenge to contemplate what to write about when the world is grappling with such monumental issues. In the face of unimaginable suffering and atrocities, it’s only natural to wonder, “What can I possibly add?”
The answer still eludes me.
I want to clarify that my intent is not to fan the flames of political division. I’m not here to pass judgment on anyone’s belief systems or to dictate what you should think, feel, or believe. However, if you follow me on Instagram, you’ll know that I’ve always been vocal against injustice and committed to standing alongside Truth, wherever it may lead. I refuse to be silenced or coerced into echoing propaganda out of fear. I recognize that, as with most facets of life, there exist nuances and complexities that deserve our consideration.
As an actor and writer, my enduring fascination lies in exploring lives far removed from my own. I’ve actively sought out and embraced perspectives that diverge from my personal experiences, all the while nurturing a deep yearning for empathy to transcend the realm of mere abstraction.
In my view, this constitutes the most profound essence of storytelling, filmmaking, and acting—unveiling the capability, through the collective endeavor of many, to materialize the creations of one’s imagination and to witness how, almost invariably, this process not only uncovers Truth but also fosters the genuine experience of Empathy.
As I scrolled through social media, confronted by a ceaseless torrent of unfathomable devastation, I found myself in deep reflection, yearning to discover those glimpses of enduring beauty and humanity that have perennially flourished in Palestine, defying the weight of oppression.
Of course, at the very moment when my heart longed for it, for amidst the madness there is always a trace of magic, I stumbled upon a captivating Instagram reel by @Nolcollective:
I also found myself pondering whether I had ever truly experienced a Palestinian cinema. Regrettably, I must admit that I had not.
For years, my curiosity about the conflict has involved delving into documentaries that shed light on the ongoing crisis, pouring over numerous essays and articles, and in-depth interviews with diplomats and activists from all sides. Yet, it recently struck me that I hadn't explored the power of art as a source of insight. Why, you may wonder? Part of the reason is the limited availability of such content. Much like all aspects of this complex issue, Palestinian voices have often existed in the shadows, their narratives suppressed and their stories left largely untold.
Amid a backdrop where global leaders often appear determined to sow division and provide justifications for actions that dehumanize and terrorize the people of Palestine, I hold steadfast to my belief in the potential of curiosity and storytelling to bridge divides and awaken our collective consciousness.
Given this, with the guidance of a few Palestinian artists and friends, I've carefully compiled a selection of Palestinian films that I will immerse myself in over the next few days and wanted to share the list with you all.