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In the long-term Israeli-Palestinian conflict, the Gaza Strip has been a hot-bed of armed conflict, as well as the focal point of endless political and border disputes. So, it is always of interest when the artistic community in that region documents both the viscious cycle of the war and the humanity of both sides.
On March 6, 2012, the Jewish Studies Program at SUNY will present Israeli filmmaker Avner Faingulernt who will discuss and screen portions of his riveting films “War Matador” and “Fishermen’s Diary.”
“War Matador” explores the curious phenomenon of “war tourism” which flourished during the 2009 conflict that took place on the Israeli-Gaza border. People from all over the region swarmed to the border to observe the shelling of Gaza. As one critic from the Jerusalem Film Festival said of “War Matador”: “it is a surreal journey into a beloved country whose bleeding wound determines our existence.”
Faingulernt’s 2005 film, “Fishermen’s Diary: Men on the Edge,” will also be partially screened. It tells the story of four fishermen—two Israelis and two Palestinians—who work together on a small beach wedged between Israel and Gaza, and how they form a delicate working relationship despite political tensions. The Palestinians are the bosses and own the boat and fish. The Jews are the hired workers and security guards at sea.
Christopher Robbins, an Art & Design School professor at Purchase College whose work includes think tanks working in Israel, the Gaza Strip, Serbia and Kosovo, commented: "Bringing huge, seemingly intractable issues to an interpersonal level is an essential step in addressing conflict. It makes the complexity understandable."
Purchase College students and the public will have the opportunity to ask Faingulernt, who heads the film program at Sapir College in southern Israel, questions about filmmaking and its particular challenges when dealing with the sensitive subject matter of the Middle East conflict.
The free lecture and screening is open to the public and will be held at Purchase College’s Humanities Theater at 6:00 p.m. The film event, this year’s Barkan Memorial Lecture of the Jewish Studies Program, is co-sponsored by the Jewish Studies, Cinema Studies and Film Programs. For more information contact the Jewish Studies Program (firstname.lastname@example.org or 914-251-6516).
Purchase College, part of the State University of New York (SUNY) network of 64 universities and colleges, was founded in 1967 by Governor Nelson Rockefeller. His aspirations for Purchase were to combine on one campus conservatory training in the visual and performing arts with programs in the liberal arts and sciences. Today, Purchase College, SUNY is a community of students, faculty, and friends where open-minded engagement with the creative process leads to a lifetime of intellectual growth and professional opportunity. For more information about the College, visit www.purchase.edu.