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Sonia Nettnin Film Review: West...East

Film Review: West...East

By Sonia Nettnin At The Chicago Palestine Film Festival

Amer and Mother Azizeh hear mortar shells explode and gun fire. They hide underneath the trees. In 1948, thousands of Palestinians fled during Al-Nakba, the Catastrophe." (Photo courtesy of CPFF)

In Director Rina Khoury's short film, "West...East," bombs explode in the distance. A young boy named Amer and his blind mother walk amid trees, tall grass and bushes. Mother Azizeh uses a wooden cane. Scattered on the ground are peoples' belongings: clothes, furniture, a child's doll. Although it is difficult to walk, Amer must guide his mother between tree branches.

While he scouts the path ahead, he hides her in the thickness of the brush, underneath the shade of trees. He ties her head scarves to tree branches so he can find her again. The route east is an arduous path, but it is safer to make the journey away from the warfare and violence. They hear the firing of mortar shells. Will they survive?

In 1948, thousands of Palestinians made this journey. It is called Al-Nakba, the Palestinian Catastrophe.

After 58 years, the people still want to live their lives without occupation and oppression. Hope in the future and for freedom is their saving grace.


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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