Arna's Children


Arna's Children

  • The Netherlands, Israel, Palestine
  • 84
  • STC
  • Juliano Mer Khamis

Arna Mer was a tough Israeli Jew who married Saliba Khamis, a Palestinian from Nazareth. In the last years of her life, she ran a small theatre group for Palestinian children in the West Bank town of Jenin. Mer hoped to engage the youth and help them express their frustrations with life in a refugee camp. With original footage shot by her son Juliano (the film’s co-director) between 1989 and 1996, we see ‘Arna’s children’ Yussef, Ashraf and A’lla laughing, play-acting and behaving like typical young boys. In 2002, Juliano returned to Jenin with co-director Danniel Danniel to see what became of the kids. Shifting back and forth in time, the film reveals the horrors of life on the battleground of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict as the filmmakers try to absorb and understand the children’s choices: Yussef becomes a suicide gunman; Ashraf is killed in the battle of Jenin; and A’lla leads a resistance group. Chris McDonald

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