Since You LeftMin Youm Ma Roht
PALESTINE, ISRAEL / 2006 / Arab, Hebrew, English / Color / Video / 58 min
Director, Script, Narrator: Mohammad Bakri
Photography: Fayçal Hassairi, Shai Peleg, Shuki Dekel
Editing: Gabi Shihor
Sound: Jerard Alush
Music: Amir Shahsar, Habib Shhadeh
Producers: Avi Kleinberger, Mohammad Bakri
Production Company: Ness Communication & Production Ltd.
World Sales: Mohammad Bakri
The Palestinian-Israeli actor Mohammad Bakri stands before the grave of Palestinian writer and politician Emil Habibi, a close friend who influenced his own work, and speaks about the things that have come to pass in his life. Bakri struggled bitterly as his two nephews were persecuted for their involvement in a terrorist incident and the screening of his documentary Jenin Jenin was prohibited in Israel. While reflecting on the words of Habibi, Bakri calls for both Israel and Palestine to face each other and come to grips with their own foolishness.
[Director’s Statement] Why did I make this film?
I am a Palestinian who was born in Israel after 1948, when the war that established Israel created refugee camps of Palestinians all over the Arab world around Israel, and what had been the majority Palestinians in Israel became a minority because of the deportations.
For over thirty years, I have been acting in Palestinian and Israeli cinema and theater.
I have stood on the side of hope that we can change the attitudes of people on both sides, in order to create love and peace between the two peoples, and at least a reasonable solution for the two groups. For over thirty years, people on both sides considered me a model of coexistence. But suddenly, after I made Jenin Jenin, which treats the Palestinian feelings after the Israeli invasion of Camp Jenin in April 2002, the film was banned and attacked in the Israeli media, who described me as a person who supports terror, is supported by terror, and makes very bad propaganda. (Recently, I was sued by five Israeli soldiers, who accuse me of giving them a bad name and want me to pay 2,700,000 shekels—and the court case has only just begun!) I became, in the eyes of the average Israeli, “like Bin Laden”!
Therefore, I was forced to defend myself, to make this film in order to protect my dream and to show the real face of the Israeli policy and media. In the film, I tell my story, about what has happened to me, to my mentor Emil Habibi, the famous Palestinian writer who wrote The Secret Life of Saeed: The Pessoptimist, which I adapted as a one-man show and performed in Tokyo and Kyoto in 2006.
Emil Habibi passed away ten years ago and left me alone with my hope, fighting to protect my desire for change and for peace.
Born in 1953 in Bina Village in Galilee, Israel. Bakri studied acting and Arabic literature at the Tel Aviv University from 1973 to 1976. Since 1976 he has been a professional stage actor in different theaters in Israel and in Palestine’s West Bank, and at the same time a professional cinema actor, acting in many international film productions as well as in Israeli and Palestinian films. His filmography as an actor includes Hanna K. (1983, dir. Constantin Costa-Gavras), Beyond the Walls (1984, dir. Uri Barbash), Esther (1986, dir. Amos Gitai), Cap Final (1991, dir. Eran Riklis), The Tale of the Three Jewels (1994–95, dir. Michel Khleifi), Haifa (1996, dir. Rashid Masharawi), The Olive Harvest (2003, dir. Hannah Elias), and La Masseria delle allodole (2007, dir. Vittorio & Paolo Taviani). His one-man play The Pessoptimist (based on the novel by the Palestinian writer Emil Habibi) was performed in Japan in 2006. His films as director include 1948 (1998) and Jenin Jenin (2002).