Two Thousand Walls (a song for jayyous)

By Peter Snowdon

Brussels, Belgium


Night. A terrace on a hillside. Children's voices.
A poem. A song.
A fragment of time, a moment out of time.
Ghostly figures, as if struggling to exist, even here, in their own land.

Experimental documentary, filmed in Jayyous village, West Bank, shortly after the construction of the Separation Wall sealed a new period in the dispossession of the villagers.

Jayyous village has been featured heavily in media reports on the impact of the Wall on Palestinian communities. But Jayyous was originally two villages – one of which lay on the coast near what is now the Israeli town of Netanya. Before 1948, the villagers were shepherds, and would move their flocks between the coastal plain and the hills where they still live today, according to the season of the year.

This film seeks to tap into the deep wellspring of attachment to their land which has been born out of this history of internal exile and separation. It uses hypnotic, dream-like images of my friend Abdul-Latif's children and lets them reverberate against the intense nostalgia and passionate resistance expressed in the songs they recited for us.

[NB The songs are translated into English in voiceover. Other Arabic dialogue is just small talk, and has been deliberately left untranslated, to help non-Arabic-speaking viewers focus on the atmosphere of the scene, rather than being constantly on the look-out for significance.]

ABOUT THE ARTIST: Peter Snowdon was born in Northumberland, England, in 1964. He has lived and worked in France, Egypt, India and Belgium. He began making films in 2000.

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