Arab cinema worth watching
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Ghost Hunting

Duration: 1:33:10 | Channel: Indie Films   Subtitled in English   Palestine  
For more than 25 years, one image has been haunting director Raed Andoni - that of a boy (18), head covered with a bag and handcuffed, sitting inside a prison yard. The same sounds always accompany this image: metal doors opening and footsteps slowly approaching. Through the power part of the bag, the boy can see a man wearing white sneakers walking away. A survivor of the prison experience himself, Raed has fragmented memories that he can’t distinguish as real or imaginary. In order to confront the ghost that haunts him, he decides to rebuild the Al-Moscobiya investigation center in an empty warehouse near Ramallah. A casting call for former prisoners results in an eclectic group of construction workers, a blacksmith, an architect and an artist. As they build a copy of their former jail based on their own memories, Raed digs deep into their memories, triggered by reenactments and roleplaying. For this purpose, he focuses on the story of Mohammad (50), whom the resistance to the investigation methods – stoked by laughter and rebellion - made him a hero among Palestinians. From behind the ‘colonel’s desk’ recreated from Mohammad’s memory, Raed interviews each one of the men with basic questions: name, professional capability, jail experience.Among them is Ramzi (32), a professional actor who was also jailed in Al-Moscobiya. Raed casts him to play the role of the young Mohammad. The film’s narrative develops throughout the building process. Slowly the inner world of these ex-prisoners takes possession of the entire basement. Some parts of the prison are shaped in details, while others are only sketched or drawn on the floor. And since ex-prisoners’ memories are different from each other, lively debates ensue, marked by humorous moments. Each participant recreates his own cell, based on his own memories, and thanks to the physical work, people start to talk more freely. Once they start sharing painful memories, the prison becomes a safe place – even as they play roles of the prison guests, reliving the traumatic moments they experienced, which they try to overcome with a vibrant sense of humor. As the walls rise, these survivors finally release the violent emotions and deepest fears they had kept inside – leading to spell-binding catharsis, stylized by Raed’s captivating mis-en-scène and animation elements. Director: Raed Andoni