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People of the Land explores the connection the Palestinian people have to land and nature. This collection of short films delves into the ways that occupation affects the environment. Often the actions of an oppressor lead to the destruction of nature, misuse of the land and the limitation of native people's access to the land that they have been stewards of for generations. The films not only highlight this in Palestine but also connect this struggle to that of other indigenous communities. Additionally, the films explore the continued connection Palestinian people have to nature, even when they have been forced to leave or are born in the diaspora. Fruit, herbs, trees and even soil hold on to beloved memories and the rich history of their homeland.

This program is presented in partnership with Storm Studio.

Under the shade of a lemon tree, a Palestinian woman, Khaldieh, prepares herself a humble breakfast, remembering her former life and lost homeland with an assemblage of simple elements.

She unfolds the trauma of her sudden expulsion from the town she and all her ancestors grew up in. Holding onto a mere key to their home, she shares with us the pain of leaving her house for the last time, which she relates to her constant dreams of return.

Filmmaker bio: Noor Al-Asswad is a budding Palestinian filmmaker whose works explore the multidirectional connections between memory, identity, loss, history, home, land, heritage and addressing the feminist issues. She was born and raised in Syria, until she had to leave in 2012 due to the political turmoil. Her raw and earnest style invites the viewer jump through time and perspective. She graduated with a Bachelors in Mass Communication in 2018, Her previous works include Noah (2018) and Samha (2017). Under The Lemon Tree (2020) won Best Director for Short Documentaries in SFAAF The South Film Arts and Academy Festival.

Director's Statement: Exile and expulsion are a familiar habitat for me. My birthplace is Damascus, but I bear a Palestinian identity card, I spent my adolescence in Syria, until we were violently uprooted by from the lives we had built for ourselves by the chaos and unrest that rendered the streets of my childhood unrecognizable. My family had to leave everything behind, and start a new in an alien land. There was no land to stand on firmly, only wind blowing beneath the soles of my feet.

  • Year
  • Runtime
    10 minutes
  • Language
  • Country
  • Genre
  • Subtitle Language
  • Director
    Noor Fawzi Al-Asswad
  • Screenwriter
    Noor Fawzi Al-Asswad
  • Producer
    Yassmine Hammoudi
  • Cinematographer
    Prum Mesa, Yasser Mustafa