On Wednesday 4th we made the two hour journey from Ramallah to an area just past Hebron where the Il Hatheleen tribe live. Upon arrival we noticed that the children were somewhat more reserved to see people from outside of their community than those at Anata had been. The children approached us warily, keeping a guarded distance, which was only explained later by Bilal, an outspoken 25 year old Bilal from the community. Bilal was eager to show us the shockingly close proximity that they were living to a large Israeli settlement, and how, in recent years, illegal settlement houses had been built as close as two metres from the tents of his community. This has resulted in a huge amount of hostility and violence from the settlers, which, combined with the frequent destruction of the tribe’s tents and tin shacks by the israeli army, has led to the children of the community becoming extremely wary of outsiders.
Bilal also talked to us of his thoughts about the importance of cinema for allowing the people of his community insight into other cultures, and told us of a family member now living in a nearby village who has learnt perfect English from watching un-subtitled films on a black and white 12″ television.
During the day we made two screenings, in two different communal gazebo tents, both of which proved to be a logistical challenge due to fact that so much light was let in where there were no side panels to the tent. But, as usual, the community was on hand, gathering all that they could to block out the light and eventually succeeding in creating the darkness needed for a cinema experience.
Unusually some women were present at this screening, many of whom particularly enjoyed A Nomad’s Home for its portrayal of a working woman in a bedouin community. However, as always it was hard to please everyone, and others found the film too slow, lacking the fast visual pace that they had anticipated. The children’s films, though, were a big success and the young audience laughed and cheered at the different animations, even joining in by making their own shadow puppets from the light of the projector.