A breathtaking portrait of life in Hebron – in 9 minutes

I am really excited to share this one, with everyone.

A few weeks ago, my dear friend, co-organizer and brilliant filmmaker Yuval Orr (he’s guest-posted on this blob, and we co-created the short portrait of refusenik Udi Segal this past summer) premiered his newest work, a 9 minute film called ”Khelil Helwa (Hebron is beautiful).”

In this masterfully crafted and humanely framed film, the viewer is given a lens into the life of the 15 year-old named Awni Abu Shamsiya, and Awni’s attempts to maintain some shred of normalcy under Israeli military occupation. I’ve been reading and watching materials created about the occupation in general, and about Hebron in particular, fairly consistently for the last six years, and I can say without a moment’s hesitation that this film is one of the most powerful pieces about Hebron -where the occupation is manifested, in many ways, in its rawest form- I have seen in a long time.

Maybe its the throat-clench of absurdity, or perhaps it is the dull-throb of heartbreak. Or perhaps there is a different word. Khalil Helwa leaves room for the viewer to come to her own conclusions, while maintaining a clear, humane and empathic view of the gallingly unfair situation.

I’ll stop here, because I think the work speaks for itself. What I am trying to say, in essence, is that you absolutely need to take nine minutes to watch this film, whether you’ve been in Hebron 50 times, or have never been before and only know the vaguest contours of the city’s story. With no further ado, here it is:

Follow Yuval Orr on Twitter @YuvalOrr.

Screen Shot 2014-12-16 at 3.58.13 PM
Screenshot from Khelil Helwa (Hebron is beautiful), by Yuval Orr, 2014.