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Aqabat-Jaber, Passing through (AfricAsia)


N°42 Outstanding Report
The Grand Prix went to a remarkable investigative report by the young Eyal Sivan, called “Aqabat Jaber-A Transitory Life”. Aqabat Jaber is a Palestinian camp that was provisionally established on the West Bank of the Jordan by the United Nations Resettlement and Works Agency (UNRWA) in the early 1950s. Originally, there were 65.000 Palestinian refugees in the camp; today. 2.500 people are still there, supposedly waiting, deprived of their citizenship.
ln this first film, the 23-year-old Sivan adopts different techniques, according to the subjects before his camera. An old woman is not shown in the same way as a lively young boy since the director tries to represent the lifestyle of each in their own way. More than 20 people are interviewed in the film, some working with the director in the hope that their message may get across, others frankly hostile since they have already been filmed by “sympathetic” crews without any subsequent change in their situation.
The reason “Aqabat Jaber” stands out from other film of its kind is that EyaI Sivan makes no attempt to come up with a miracle solution. The film simply shows how Palestinian refugees live today. The implicit question is whether such things are to be tolerated. Sivan is no politician, but he may stir public opinion enough to have something done, at last. The prize awarded his documentary - which deserves to be shown widely - is an encouraging sign.