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A WEDDING IN RAMALLAH

Australia, 2002 (MIFF 2002, Australian Showcase)

Director: Sherine Salama

In the midst of war-ravaged Palestine, the everyday experiences of a hopeful newlywed couple takes on particular resonance. In July 2000, while Arafat is in America talking peace, Bassam - a telephone repairman in Cleveland - returns to his home in Palestine in search of a bride. Soon after his wedding to Mariam, he returns to America while Mariam waits patiently for her visa, huddled under blankets as gunfire echoes around the West Bank for almost a year.

Australian documentary maker Sherine Salama has pieced together a thoughtful portrait of Palestinian life. Ordinary life in wartime is brilliantly evoked: people talk on cell phones, quarrel and cook dinner while tanks are shelling buildings a few blocks away from Bassam's family home. A compelling film - speaking volumes about the lives of men and women etching out a life under extreme conditions.

Sherine Salama is a guest of the Festival

Sherine Salama (born in Cairo) moved to Australia as a child, although she has returned to the Middle East on numerous occasions over the past 12 years. As an ABC reporter she recieved the UN Media Peace Prize for coverage of Bosnian women's experiences with rape. Her first film, Australia Has No Winter (1999), followed a refugee family from Belgrade to Melbourne.

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