Abu Jamil Street
Abu Jamil Street
IDFA 2010

Abu Jamil Street

Rue Abu Jamil
Monchovet Alexis, Stephane Marchetti
France, Israel
52 min
World Premiere
Festival history
\i Abu Jamil Street\i0 follows four young Palestinians as they dig tunnels beneath the street in Rafah, near the border between the Gaza Strip and Egypt. The continual fear of police, tunnel collapse, bombing and dust inhalation doesn't prevent the foursome from joking all the while as they make their way through the earth towards Egypt and the food and cigarettes they can buy there. Their good humor lends the situation the air of a childish prank rather than an act of dire desperation. "Either we live, or we die," says one of the diggers. "Either I make money or I lose everything." They compare their situation to the adventures of animated duo Tom and Jerry: "Israel is Tom and the Palestinians are Jerry," one of them chuckles from the depths of his own mouse hole, and "It's always Jerry who wins." The French filmmakers shot alternately in color and black and white, both below and aboveground. Since the trade embargo in the Gaza Strip, Palestinians count on help from the Egyptian side. In December 2008, around a hundred tunnels on the border zone were bombed. After 22 days of bombardments, all of the passages had been destroyed. No sooner is a ceasefire reached than the men eagerly start digging again - surprisingly jovial as they try to make the best of a bad situation.
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