August 2013

"Art / Violence"

by Batoul Taleb, Mariam Abu Khaled, Udi Aloni; opens October 17, Accompanied by the "CINEMA fairbindet" Road Show

Stills from Art / Violence

An artist is shot: peace activist, director and actor Juliano Mer-Khamis died in front in his theatre in the Jenin refugee camp in 2011. His murder has yet to be solved to this day. Mer-Khamis, son of a Jewish mother and a Palestinian father, had been head of the Freedom Theatre since 2006, using art as a means of challenging hopelessness and violence in the refugee camp. He also saw the theatre as representing an opportunity to offer artists a stage regardless of their nationality and sex. The film ART / VIOLENCE documents the period following Juliano Mer-Khamis’ murder: how should his legacy be established, how should the feelings of impotence, grief and anger be dealt with and how should the theatre continue its work? The film employs a mix of interviews, scenes from the theatre, footage of a hip-hop concert, images from the past and animated sequences to document theatre projects old and new as well as the difficulties and challenges encountered by the young actors in their work. ART / VIOLENCE is split up into three chapters, each relating to one of the Freedom Theatre’s projects: Alice in Wonderland, Waiting for Godot and Antigone.

Background Information

The Jenin refugee camp is located near the city of the same name in the north of the West Bank, which has been occupied by Israel since 1967. Its 12,000 inhabitants make it one of the largest Palestinian refugee camps, with around 42 percent of their number being under fifteen years of age.

Alongside a diverse cultural program, the Freedom Theatre also provides circus, theatre, music, video and computer groups for children and young people. Since 2008, it has run the first even Palestinian theatre school, where young Palestinians receive training from international theatre and performance experts. More information can be found at the theatre’s website:

Festivals and Prizes

Berlinale Panorama – World Premiere / Winner of the CINEMA fairbindet Prize Cinema South Festival (Sderot, Israel)
The Jerusalem International Film Festival (Jerusalem, Israel)
Documentarist Film Festival (Istanbul, Turkey)
Montreal International Documentary Festival - RIDM (Montreal, Canada)
MedFilm Festival Rome – Winner of the "Open Eyes Award 2013"

For screening dates please check the German version of this site

The directors

Udi Aloni is a writer, artist and filmmaker whose work explores the discourse between art, theory, and action. His art projects have been presented in numerous museums and galleries including The Metropolitan Museum of Art and the ICA in London. His films Kashmir: Journey to Freedom (2009), Forgiveness (2006), Local Angel and Innocent Criminals (2003) have been screened at the Panorama of the Berlinale, among other venues around the world. In 2011, his book What Does a Jew Want? On Binationalism and Other Specters was published by Columbia University Press. In April 2012, New York’s Public Theatre presented Aloni in his visual Midrash project with philosopher Slavoj Zizek.

Batoul Taleb began performing theatre at the Freedom Theatre in the Jenin Refugee Camp. Her past productions include Animal Farm, Fragments of Palestine, Alice in Wonderland, Waiting for Godot, and Miss Julie. She has toured to Europe and to the US with her theatre work and has taken part in theatre workshops all around the world. She sees theatre as a powerful tool to engage and unite the community. She is currently working to produce an Arabic version of Peter Pan, to be presented in the spring of 2013. This is Batoul’s first film.

Mariam Abu Khaled started acting when she was 15 and came to the Freedom Theatre at the age of 18 to study under Juliano Mer Khamis. Her past productions include Fragments of Palestine, Alice in Wonderland, Waiting for Godot, and Miss Julie. She has performed around Palestine, Europe, and the US, most recently performing in an Arabic adaptation of Brecht’s Senora Carrar’s Rifles in Ramallah and Jenin. This is Mariam's first film.


Country/Year: Palestinian Territories/USA 2013. Running time: 75 Min. Language: Arabic, English, Hebrew with German subtitles. Directors: Udi Aloni, Batoul Taleb, Mariam Abu Khaled. Editor and co-director: Adi Golan – Bikhnafo. Cinematography: Amnon Zlait. Producers: Udi Aloni, Batoul Taleb, Tamer Nafar, Aviva Zimmerman. Music: DAM (Tamer Nafar, Suhell Nafar & Mahmoud Jreri) & Shadia Mansour. Animation: Eilona Givon. Other contributors: Udi Aloni, Batoul Taleb, Mariam Abu Khaled, Milay Mer, Saleh Bakri, Amer Hlehel & Adi Khalifa