The flavors of Palestinian cuisine depend on za’atar (wild oregano) and akoub (a thistle-like plant that tastes like artichoke). The plants grow on rocky terrain, and are traditionally harvested by the people who live in these regions.
Israel has banned wild picking, however. Officially, this is to protect nature, because both plants are becoming less common in the wild. Local Palestinians see the ban as yet another form of harassment, however, and some of them take little notice of the fines, interrogations and court cases. They simply continue the calmly rebellious act of foraging.
Foragers, by the Berlin-based Palestinian filmmaker Jumana Manna, is constructed from fictional scenes alongside documentary and archive footage, to offer a delicate and sometimes poetic look at the political implications of nature conservation. Who gets to decide what’s allowed in the natural environment, and why do they have that right? And what’s going to be the first to die out here, a plant or a cherished tradition?