Important to resist violence through art: Hany Abu-Assad

Bedika K

Mumbai, Oct 21 (PTI) Palestinian filmmaker Hany Abu-Assad, best known for his Oscar-nominated movie 'Paradise Now' and 'Omar', says his pursuit will always be to resist oppression as a storyteller.

The director remembers watching 'One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest' as a 14-year-old Palestinian at a time when violence was one of the obvious options to fight opression.

The movie, he says, gave him the perspective that there was another way.

'What I realised was, when you fight violence with violence, violence wins. When I was young, I thought if I don't fight, violence will win. If I fight violence with violence, in the end violence will win too! This was a philosophical-existential question.

'I thought it was best to resist through art. I am doing something that won't let violence win, at least for me. Violence could spread, more and more but it won't win for me. I will win it through the awareness I am spreading (with my art),' the filmmaker told PTI in an interview.

Hany, who participated in a special masterclass at the ongoing JIO MAMI 21st Mumbai Festival with Star with Nandita Das, believes it's crucial for filmmakers to narrate stories of their region with utmost truth for the future.

'In the last 100 years, it's cinema stories which have crossed boundries. The reach of cinema is powerful. For the first time, whole Palestine has been watching Indian movies! Two hundred years ago, my grandfathers couldn't imagine how India looked like.

'I believe in history, when they'll analyse our time 400 years from now, they'll look back and see, from 1900 to 2000 as the cinema time. This period is going to be analysed majorly through cinema. In the future, cinema will function as a global representation of our time. This is our biggest presentation to the future.'

During the session, the filmmaker said the world is currently being ruled by the Right Wing politics. Hany said when politicians failed, they made people believe in 'false political identities' which cause inequality.

'The right wing won the moment the Soviet union collapsed. From that moment, we are all under the rule of the one political thought... Nothing is controlling them. They make the law, they make the media. We are now almost hitting the bottom.

'We do nothing and are going to crash or a revolution will come. It should begin from the United States as it's the most powerful (nation). Even China, Russia and India are adapting the politics of the Right Wing.'

For the 58-year-old director, filmmakers are the storytellers for the times when politics fails, 'we will have a bigger role: of just creating awareness.'

'But we can't be leaders of the change. I am an artiste, how can I lead masses? It's impossible. But through stories, you can spread awareness about the subject.' PTI JUR BK BK

BK