When: Wed., Nov. 17 2010
Life for nomadic peoples in the modern age can be hard, but it became impossible for the Bedouins of southern Israel's Negev Desert, who wandered a land where every inch is contested. They were settled in permanent encampments by the Israeli government, which brought hardship as they tried to adapt their old values to a new way of life. In 2004, Israeli filmmaker Uri Rosenwaks decided to teach filmmaking in the city of Rahat, which is the largest permanent Bedouin community in the world despite having fewer than 50,000 residents. He wanted to help the Bedouins speak with their own voice, particularly the "Black Bedouins," those of non-Arab African descent who were enslaved by their Arab counterparts and freed only 50 years ago.
Back and Forth is the second film to arise from the project. It consists of four short films by different Bedouin directors. Obama From Rahat is filmmaker Morad Al Frawna's portrait of his father's unexpected run for local government. Bedouins Drown Like Stones shows the danger to young Bedouins who aren't provided swimming classes and facilities like their Jewish counterparts. Janice follows a British-born woman who married into the Bedouin community as she tries to raise awareness of animal cruelty. Burned Notebooks shows the challenges faced by Bedouin girls who want to pursue an education against their families' wishes. Rosenwaks will introduce the film and answer questions afterward. The free screening starts at 7 p.m. in Room 136 of the Social Sciences Building on Duke's West Campus.—Marc Maximov