James Longley is a gifted filmmaker with a steady, methodological patience for the quieter moments of life – he captures them with beautiful cinematography and puts the images together as narratives of struggle, survival and dignity. His films have won numerous awards all over the world and he is celebrated for his breathtaking, provocative feature documentary Gaza Strip (2002), this week’s Friday Film Pick. In an act of generosity and showing a sober approach to getting older films “out there” Longley has recently put the entire film up on Vimeo. You can watch the whole thing after the jump.
Longley, who was awarded a $500,000 MacArthur Fellowship “Genius Grant” in 2009, writes about Gaza Strip and recent changes in the Middle East on the film’s Vimeo page:
In early 2001 I spent three months in Gaza filming material for this documentary, GAZA STRIP, working with local fixer and translator, Mohammed Mohanna. The second Palestinian uprising against Israeli military occupation had begun in September, 2000, and there had already been large numbers of deaths in Gaza when I started this project.
Though the period this documentary covers includes the election of Ariel Sharon as Israeli Prime Minister and large incursions by the Israeli Defense Forces into Gaza, in retrospect the time depicted here is one of relative quiet. More recent Israeli attacks against Gaza have been far more destructive and deadly than what falls into the scope of this film.
The time since the release of this film in 2002 has seen many changes, including the evacuation of illegal Israeli settlements inside the Gaza Strip and the election of Hamas. However, the occupation and attacks against Gaza continue, and the blockade of Gaza has intensified. It is my hope that this film will provide a partial introduction to Gaza for those who have come to the subject recently, and also serve as a document of its time.
I am making this film available completely free, however those who wish to contribute to my future filmmaking efforts may do so via PayPal or mail on my website.
You may also rate the film or write a review on the film’s IMDb page. Enjoy!