Cinema Jenin

  • Marcus Vetter
  • Germany, Israel
  • 2011
  • 96 min
  • World Premiere
  • IDFA Competition for Feature-Length Documentary
When director Marcus Vetter goes to Jenin in the Palestinian territories for a story about Ismael, whose son was shot by an Israeli sniper, he discovers that the city once boasted a cinema where people lined up to watch local and international films. Palestine used to have a well-developed film industry, but it collapsed with the First Intifada in 1987. Vetter, Ismaël, and a few locals come up with the idea of renovating and breathing new life into the old cinema and creating a social and cultural meeting place. It becomes a drawn-out process, as the German director at the center of his own story encounters complex cultural relationships and sentiments. Initially, Vetter doesn't understand many Palestinian customs and he gets taken to task for it on several occasions. What's more, the involvement of foreign parties is a delicate issue for many Palestinians - especially when it comes to Israel. Although the new cinema is supposed to welcome everyone, the enterprise prompts reactions that reveal the painful nature of the relationship between Palestine and Israel. The word "peace" becomes extremely charged, and the initiators have to make sure that the social project doesn't turn into a political project. These and other problems need to be solved with the help of a few big names, lots of volunteers, and even more cigarettes.


  • 96 min
  • color
  • DCP
  • Spoken languages: German, Hebrew, English, Arabic
  • Subtitles in: English
Marcus Vetter
Uwe Dierks for Boomtownmedia, Thomas Grube for Boomtownmedia, Philippa Kowarsky for Cinephil, Marcus Vetter
Alex Bakri
Saskia Metten
Avi Balleli

IDFA history

World Premiere
IDFA Competition for Feature-Length Documentary

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IDFA history

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