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Musical documentary Checkpoint Rock premiers in Ramallah

Aug. 18, 2009 5:14 P.M. (Updated: Aug. 20, 2009 12:48 P.M.)
Bethlehem - Ma’an - It is a “trip through a place which the world is always looking at but which we know almost nothing about,” say the artists behind a new musical documentary that records the sounds and rhythms of life in and around the separation wall.

The film, Checkpoint Rock, will premier Tuesday night in Ramallah’s Al-Kasaba Theatre. It is set to be shown in Haifa, Acre and Nazareth over the next four days. It was directed by Fermin Muguruza, and produced by Javier Corcuera.

The film moves from Palestinian cities, villages and camps to the neon lit streets of Tel Aviv recording the ways that “music hits the walls” of Palestinian society as it negotiates occupation. Featured artists include DAM from Jerusalem, AMAL Murkus from Nazareth, Khalas and Walaat from Acre, Sabreen from Jerusalem PR (Palestinian Rappers) from Gaza and the Jubrans from Ramallah as well as a dozen other bands and artists.

Woven into the spaces are words from the late Palestinian poet Mahmoud Darwish and images of his funeral last August in Ramallah; the impact of his message on the film represents the man’s impact on Palestinian poetry and art.

Spanish-born Muguruza will be present at all screenings this week. He is a prominent artists in Europe, and composed several songs for the film, including “Elleh Elleh Ramallah,” which he says was inspired by his experiences in the city’s presidential compound when it was invaded and besieged in 2002.

Muguruza will perform a concert following the Ramallah screening.

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