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Sonia Nettnin Review: A Few Crumbs for the Birds

Film Review: A Few Crumbs for the Birds


By Sonia Nettnin


(Photo courtesy of CPFF)

“A Few Crumbs for the Birds” or “Quelque miettes pour les oiseaux” is a documentary montage of images and conversations with people working in Ruwayshed, the last Jordanian village before the Iraqi border.

The desolate village consists of the main drag where semis drive by. When they stop it is for diesel fuel or an overnight stay because most people in Ruwayshed are passing through. Directors Nassim Amouche and Annemarie Jacir spent ten days in the village’s hotel in April 2005.

While filming they meet four, teenage girls who are in the village to work in the hotel’s bar. The camera films them putting on their makeup and dancing with their clothes on in the dim-lighted bar. They swish their hair for attention.

In the barren desert the diesel vendors fill their jerricans and stand alongside the road waiting for trucks and cars to stop and refuel. Wrapped in a coat a child sits on the sidewalk. The film is a collage of images with oud solos playing in the background.

The working people in this village share fragments of their life stories, whether it is the present or the past. A man shares a dream about his father; the girls have nicknames for each other. The directors ask the concierge about a famous, sad song. One of the lines, “I cry like the ring doves O neighbor do you sense my presence?” is about heartache, longing and loved ones far away.

The desperation in the song is about the people: far away, living on bare sustenance, the crumbs of life, perhaps longing to be somewhere else.

The film ends with an unexpected turn of events.

Gasoline vender Sami
Girls at hotel Ruba, Hala, Yasmine, Ula, Maha
Hotel Employee Amer

A film by Nassim Amouche and Annemarie Jacir
Photos - Dana Farzanehpour
Music – Moneim Adwan and Kamran Rastegar
Evens Foundation
Duration: 26 minutes
2005

-This film is showing Sunday, May 7 at the Gene Siskel Film Center, located at 164 N. St. for the 5th Annual Chicago Palestine Film Festival. More information is at palestinefilmfest.com.


Gene Siskel Film Center Schedule

Film Name Days and Times Showing

-Waiting Sat. May 6 at 7 P.M. and Wed. May 10 at 6 P.M

-Covering Perils: Sun. May 7 at 3 P.M.
Four Shorts on
Palestinian Themes

-Improvisation Sat. May 13 at 3:30 P.M. and Tues. May 16 at 6:30 P.M.
-Isochronism: Twenty-Four (films shown together on both days)
Hours in Jabba

-Avenge But One Sat. May 13 at 5 P.M. and Wed. May 17 at 8 P.M.
Of My Eyes

-All that Remained Mon. May 15 at 6:15 P.M. and Thurs. May 18 at 6:15
-Last Supper at Abu-Dis (films shown together on both days)

-Kings and Extras Fri. May 19 at 6 P.M. and Mon. May 22 at 8:15
-The Fourth Room (films shown together on both days)

-Since You’ve Been Gone Sat. May 20 at 3:15 P.M. and Tues. May 23 at 6 P.M.
-Yasmine’s Song (films shown together on both days)

-The Last Moon Sat. May 20 at 5 P.M. and Wed. May 24 at 6 P.M.

*************

U.S. journalist and film critic Sonia Nettnin writes about social, political, economic, and cultural issues. Her focus is the Middle East.

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