Tag Archives: British Film Institute

Some of the Palestinians – Restored

We have digitally restored the original ‘Some of the Palestinians’ – a 55-minute documentary directed and edited by Mamoun Hassan when he was stationed with the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA) in Lebanon in 1974.

The film opens with a day in the life of Dr Murad, a Palestinian doctor appointed by the UNRWA to look after the health of the Palestinian people in a Syrian refugee camp. It progresses to a recently bombed camp in Lebanon to the West Bank, via Jordan.

The crew members and in Lebanon, the cinematographer, were Palestinians working in UNRWA’s Audio Visual Division, the rest of the film was shot by Ernie Vincze, the distinguished British documentary and feature cinematographer.

The final section presents a somewhat more acceptable picture of Palestinian life supported by UNRWA-sponsored humanitarian projects in women’s education and art in Ramallah.  This last section was not directed by Mamoun, he explains why…

I landed in Beirut with my wife and young family on 19 April 1974 to take up my appointment as Head of Films Branch, UNRWA (United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees). A leftist leader had been assassinated in South Lebanon the previous day and that event is regarded  as the start  of the civil war. A few days later I drove down to Nabatieh Palestinian refugee camp in South Lebanon to film the consequence of Israeli bombing. The camp had been obliterated. A few days later I filmed the effect of bombing in Rashidieh, a camp further down the coast near Tyre.

The brief was to document the services – Housing, Education, Health, Rations – that UNRWA offered the Palestinian refugees.  My immediate boss and chief of the AV division was the legendary Myrtle Winter-Chaumeny (writer, photographer, sailor, dancer); the director of Information was John Defrates, the bravest man I have ever met, who was a Navy pilot in the icy waters near Vladivostock during WWll. I was given a fairly free hand but editorial control rested with UNRWA. What I saw in South Lebanon and elsewhere gave me the form of the film: the experience of life in the camps in Lebanon, Syria and Jordan  – but not the West Bank because Israel refused me entry. Myrtle filmed that sequence.

So the story is about war in Lebanon; life in one the oldest camps near Aleppo established in 1948; work in Baqa’a in Jordan which accommodated thousands of fleeing refugees after the 1967 war;  and education in Ramallah.

Mamoun is keen for people to view this film. It is a timely reminder that UNRWA’s humanitarian work is not done, despite the decision of the US administration to cut $300 m from its planned annual contribution to the UNRWA budget in 2018.

He says,

“Since I made this film,  everything has changed for the worse for the Palestinian people. The locations for the film are now war zones or something very similar.  The tragedy continues.”

The restoration was made from an answer print of the edited film.  This version did not have English subtitles for spoken Arabic.  By referring to the only other known copy – a print held at the National Film Archive – we were able to transfer the subtitles exactly as they appeared on the film, which was invited to the London Film Festival in 1976.

LFF Certificate

Leave a comment

Filed under New articles, News, Uncategorized

Considering ‘All Quiet on the Western Front’ – live at the BFI Southbank

‘All Quiet on the Western Front’ (Dir. Lewis Milestone 1930 – based on the novel of the same name by Erich Maria Remarque) was shown during a BFI season curated by Christopher Nolan to celebrate the release of his new film ‘Dunkirk’, as a film that is a major influence on his work.

Chaired by David Somerset, Kevin Brownlow and Mamoun Hassan discussed the film before a live audience following its screening at the National Film Theatre, British Film Institute, London Southbank, 6 July 2017.

Kevin Brownlow is the acknowledged authority on the films and history of silent cinema. His first book, ‘The Parade’s Gone by…’ (1963), was transformative in our understanding and appreciation of that era. Satyajit Ray called it ‘one of the most important film books of our time’. Brownlow is the author of many outstanding books and documentaries, and, with Andrew Mollo, he wrote and directed two of Britain’s most controversial political films: ‘It Happened Here’ and ‘Winstanley’. In 2010 Brownlow was awarded an honorary Oscar – ‘For the wisdom and devoted chronicling of the cinema parade’.

Mamoun Hassan is a producer, director, screenwriter, film executive, teacher and deviser of C4’s innovative ‘Movie Masterclass’ series. Most recently he was co-writer on Andres Wood’s ‘Machuca’, Chile’s most successful film, and screenwriter on Andres Wood’s ‘La Buena Vida’, a winner of the coveted Goya Award.

This event took place through the determination, commitment and passion of David Somerset at the BFI.

The recording of the event was marred by the failure of the close up camera.

Leave a comment

Filed under Lecturing, News - Masterclasses

Discussion with Andres Wood at the BFI Southbank

Mamoun Hassan was on hand to introduce the contemporary classic, Machuca, one of his Spanish language collaborations at the National Film Theatre on Thursday 1 September.
David Somerset, of the BFI, spoke to director Andres Wood live from Santiago de Chile via Skype, with Mamoun on hand, about the development of the script and the filming of this highly acclaimed and influential film. Despite a few technical hitches, the discussion was lively, and gave an insight into the production process and the inspiration behind it.

Special thanks must go to David Somerset, who organised the event, for his cool head when Skype occasionally lost connection with Chile, and for his enthusiastic support over the past years.

Leave a comment

Filed under News

Panel discussion on Lindsay Anderson at the BFI Southbank, curated by David Somerset

Mamoun Hassan appeared recently at the British Film Institute’s Seniors talk on the work of  film, television and stage director, critic and actor Lindsay Anderson (1923 – 1994) at the National Film Theatre, Southbank, London March 14 2016. The panel event was curated by David Somerset, Adult Community Education Programmer. Filmed by Sherief Hassan and edited by David Somerset. The video opens with a clip from Free Cinema 1956 – ?’An Essay on film by Lindsay Anderson (1985).

Lindsay Anderson panel discussion, BFI Southbank from david somerset on Vimeo.

Mamoun writes

Nowadays Lindsay Anderson, if he is remembered at all, is equally loved and disliked by film makers, film critics and writers. Not so in the late 50s, 60s and 70s. He was almost wholly admired not only for his films and theatre work but also for his writings on cinema, which were incendiary. Of course, he had his detractors, who often belonged to the establishment: the successful, the comfortable, the conformist, the smug and the paralysed conservatives. He argued and carried the flame for an authentic British cinema. He influenced a whole generation of film makers and critics. He was cerebral, emotional, provocative, censorious, intimidating, generous, inspiring. Never before had a British film director spoken with such clarity about what we should make films about and how we might make them – about style. Critics tend to belabour the genre, as if audiences can’t tell the difference between a hand and a hacksaw, between a musical and a thriller. They avoid the responsibility that Lindsay stressed: that good cinema grows out of good criticism – not of Hollywood ‘product’ but of our own films. Passion and insight start at home.

Legendary film critic David Robinson, chairman of the Lindsay Anderson Memorial Foundation, chairs a panel consisting of Kevin Brownlow, director, writer, editor and Oscar-winning film historian, Charles Drazin, author and film critic, Andrew Eaton, film producer, and me. We speak of the man we knew and sometimes worked with and of his films.

Mamoun Hassan

 

 

Leave a comment

Filed under News

Discussion on Lindsay Anderson – BFI Southbank – Monday 14th March

lindsay-anderson-01Mamoun is pleased to have been invited to join the panel talking about the Film and Theatre Director, Film writer and influential film critic, Lindsay Anderson.

The talk is being chaired by film critic and writer, David Robinson, and the panel includes oscar winner Kevin Brownlow, and film writer Charles Drazin.

Due to the popular public response, the event has been moved from NFT3 to NFT1.

More information can be found here.

Leave a comment

Filed under Lecturing, News, News - Masterclasses

Babylon – a Conversation at Theatre Utopia with Lee Fairweather

We are pleased to be able to share the conversation about Babylon from the event at Theatre Utopia in December 3rd 2015.

Despite the loud live music that was being played in the same building, the conversation was lively, and covered not just the film but also the issue of positive discrimination and the politics of race in cinema and society.

2 Comments

Filed under Lecturing, News - Masterclasses

L’Avventura at the BFI Southbank


Mamoun introduced L’Avventura at the BFI Southbank on 14th December to a packed NFT3. It was the last ‘Passport to Cinema’ curated by Dominic Power as Head of Screen Arts at the NFTS.

Mamoun did not have enough time to talk about many aspects of Antonioni’s work, so there will be a follow up soon: Antonioni and what the Eye can See.

Leave a comment

Filed under Lecturing