“Farha” on Netflix… Israeli criticism and Palestinian celebration

The movie “Farha”, which tells the story of a Palestinian girl who comes of age in 1948, was severely criticized in Israel at a time when it was welcomed by Palestinians and Arabs.

newspaper says “Washington Post” The American film, on the other hand, contributed to the transfer of the Palestinian narrative of the events of this era to a wider audience in the United States and Europe.

The award-winning film has been available, since last month, on the “Netflix” platform, and it depicts events that took place during the events of 1948 that preceded the declaration of the State of Israel.

The Washington Post quoted a professor at Columbia University, Hamid Dabashi, as saying that showing the film on the Netflix platform put the Palestinian issue in the spotlight in North America.

He added, “The Palestinian point of view and the Palestinian narrative have become part of the mainstream American trend alongside the Jewish narrative, and this is the most exciting aspect of (Farha).”

The film tells the story of a 14-year-old Palestinian girl, Farha, whose village is attacked by Israeli forces. Fearing for her life, her father hides her in the al-Mouna room (the food store), where through a hole in the door she witnesses the execution of a Palestinian family consisting of a father, a mother, and two young daughters, while a newborn baby is left alone on the floor to die.

According to the “Washington Post”, the film clearly depicts the horror of that era that Palestinians collectively call the “Nakba”, including a series of massacres that historians say were carried out by Israeli forces and which Israel denies, and the forced displacement of 750,000 Palestinians from their homeland.

In a previous interview with Agence France-Presse, the Jordanian director, Darine Salam, said that the story of her movie “Joy” is based on real events and represents only a “drop in the sea” of the suffering of the Palestinians in 1948. This date is considered a subject of heated dispute in Israel, which celebrates an era Victory and independence.

In Israel, Israeli officials criticized the decision of the “Netflix” platform to show the film. Some Israelis, including model Natalie Dadon, also took part in an online campaign that included publicly declaring that their Netflix subscriptions had been cancelled.

In this context, Ilan Pappe, an Israeli historian and author of the book “Ethnic Cleansing in Palestine”, said that the film’s presence on the “Netflix” platform is a “dramatic achievement” due to the scarcity of this story being circulated in the mainstream media in the United States.

And in Jaffa, a mixed city of Arabs and Jews, demonstrators stood outside the Saraya Theater to protest against the screening of the film. The day before its release, Israeli politician Avigdor Lieberman, who served as finance minister, described “Farha” as “a flaming movie full of lies against IDF soldiers,” according to a tweet.

Lieberman said, “It is insane that Netflix chose to release a movie whose entire goal is to create false allegations that incite IDF soldiers.”

He also criticized the decision of the Saraya Theater in Jaffa, which receives government subsidies, to screen the film, describing it as “unacceptable.” “All available measures, including stopping funding, should be used to prevent this outrageous show or similar films in the future,” he said.

Former Israeli Minister of Culture, Chile Tropper, said that the film shows “lies and slander,” describing the Saraya Theater’s plan to show it as a “disgrace.” Trooper added, in previous statements, reported by the newspaper, “Times of Israel”,” I call on the theater management to change its decision to show the film.

The film was filmed in the towns of Ajloun and Fuheis in northern Jordan, due to the similarity between their homes and the homes of the Palestinian village where Farha’s story takes place.

The film was shown at the 2021 Toronto International Film Festival, participated in more than 40 festivals and won 12 awards, according to the director.

In the film, the teenage girl tries to persuade her father to allow her to complete her studies in the city because there is no girls’ school in the village.

The director said that the scene depicting the execution process “shook the Israeli government, but it is a point in the sea of ​​events that took place at the time of the Nakba. It is nothing compared to the things that took place.”

Salam called on filmmakers to produce more films similar to “Farah”. She said, “It is very important to have a film like (Farah) that leaves an impact and educates people about this issue. One film is not enough to tell what happened. Therefore, it is important for people to speak more, implement more films, and dare more.”

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