Skip to main content


UK / Palestine / France / Israel, 1999 (MIFF 1999, Documentaries)

Director: Alison King, Suher Ismael, Fabienne Bouville, Ruti Gadish

Nana tocuses on the loving but sometimes quite difficult relationships between four women filmmakers and the compassionate, authoritarian, unpredictable, loquacious grandmothers. From 1994 to 1998, Nana evolved out of communal effort to gain insight into each others' lives and explore one another's cultural and personal histories.

As dramas are recounted, intimacy grows. Grandmothers and granddaughters begin to painstakingly establish adult relationships within the context of their diverse cultures. The spread of experiences is what provides much of the colour of Nana, anecdotes, history and tragedy from time removed by a complete span of life.

Rashida Jabir has spent her entire life in El Khadei, a tiny Palestinian village. She has seen her country go through occupations by three foreign powers; given birth to 12 children; has over 100 immediate family descendants and is proud of never having been in love with her husband! Simone Levet was born in Toulouse in 1915, started her own business at 23 and went deaf from shock after the early death of her husband. Modern technology restored her hearing 37 years later. Blanche Soury is fluent in four languages, danced for King Farouk and is a former beauty queen. At 79 she still travels extensively with her husband of 60 years. Kitty King grew up in a cemetery in South London, gave birth to two sons and lived in the Underground during the blitz after her home was destroyed. Firm in her principles, she believes in the Empire, the monarchy and the Church of England.

The vitality of the four grandmothers, their extraordinary lives and viewpoints make Nana as entertaining as it is emotionally charged and thought-provoking.

See also...


Documentaries, as life-portraits, can be very moving when based on exceptional lives, circumstances, and hardships. The Most Unknowable Thing is an amazing story about the life of the filmmaker's ... More »


Three children were slain and dismembered in an Arkansas backwater in May, 1993 Three teenagers were convicted for the crime and sentenced to punishments ranging from life imprisonment to death. Cut ... More »


Kafi's Story centres on Kafi, a young Nuba man from the remote mountain region of Sudan. His story begins on a bus bound for Khartoum where he hopes to get a job and save enough money to buy a dress ... More »


The biggest (judged by both fame and, um, endowment) porn star ever was a valued LAPD informant, coke fiend and accessory to one of the City of Angels most brutal multiple murders! Cass Paley's ... More »


On 13 November 1991, Helen Todd received the phone call that every parent dreads. Her 20 year old son, Kamal, had been injured, shot on an island of East Timor. The nightmare of the next few days ... More »


Comparable to the hit boxing documentary When We Were Kings, Shadow Boxers is an extraordinary work. As a serious study of the burgeoning female boxing scene it's a first rate movie experience ... More »

Select a festival
Search The Film Archive
Browse By Director