The Aesthetics of Resistance in Palestinian Folkloric Dance.
A Film By John Halaka

During the summer of 2008 I began a film project that focuses on the Palestinian Folkloric Dance troupe Wishah. The working title of that film is The Aesthetics of Resistance in Palestinian Folkloric Dance. Under the direction of the renowned choreographer Mohammed Atta, Wishah’s aesthetics combines traditional folk dance forms with modern dance and non-verbal theatrical narratives to express aspects of the complex personal and collective existence of the Palestinians. Their art bridges the shattered past of Palestinian culture with the tragic present of life under occupation and reaches for a desired future of peaceful existence.
The film consists largely of interviews with Mohammad Atta and other members of the dance troupe, exploring their personal, aesthetic, cultural and political relationships to the tradition of Palestinian Folkloric Dance. It also looks at how that tradition is being kept very much alive in numerous youth and cultural centers throughout the West Bank and Gaza as a way of instilling cultural knowledge and pride in the younger generations of Palestinians.
The film on Wishah is part of a larger series of documentaries entitled Desire and Resistance in Contemporary Palestinian Art. The purpose of that project is to explore and present to Western audiences selected views representing the diversity of contemporary Palestinian Art. I began working on this project during the summer of 2006 when I recorded interviews with 25 Palestinian artists.  The first film in that series, The Presence of Absence in the Ruins of kafr Bir’im, introduced the viewer to Mr. Ibrahim Essa, an elderly poet from the Galilee who survived the ethnic cleansing of Palestine in 1948.

Anticipated release: TBA, SittingCrow Productions
Produced, filmed, written, narrated and directed by John Halaka.
Edited by Marissa Bowman.
Running time: TBA

For further information regarding the film, please contact John Halaka at [email protected] or call 619/260-4107.