To understand a people and its rich history through art, writing, film, theater, music, dance and the spoken word: these are some of the aims of a festival titled Philastiniat, or Things About Palestine, From Palestine, taking place in Milan from October 3-6.
The festival will feature meetings with writers, poetry readings, a photography exhibition, a seminar on Literature and National Identity, a film series and meetings with Palestinian directors and cinema critics, workshops, and a show by the most important Palestinian folk dance company, El Funoun.
Singer Rim Banna and her ensemble will take the stage, and there will be a show of work by Palestinian cartoonist Najial-Ali, who died in 1987.
Illustrious guests include writer Suad Amiry, film directors Michel Khleifi and Rachid Mashrawi, photographer Rula Halawani, and Columbia University Comparative Literature Professor Hamid Dabashi, who is the foremost expert on Palestinian cinema, and considered to be the intellectual heir of leading Palestinian-American academic Edward Said.
No Palestinian cultural festival would be complete without a tribute to the late, great Said. Among his many intellectual and artistic legacies, Said co-founded the West-Eastern Divan Orchestra, which brings together young musicians from Israel and Middle Eastern Arab countries, along with his friend, the Israeli-Argentine conductor Daniel Barenboim.
The aim of the festival is also to promote new talents, organizers said. Among these will be writer-journalist Akram Musallam (author of The Dance of the Scorpion, Il Sirente publishers, 2011) and poets Nasr Jamil Sha'ath and Asmaa Azaizeh. The festival will take place in various Milan locations, from the Feltrinelli bookstore to the Fabbrica del Vapore (Steam Factory), from the Teatro Verdi to the Teatro dell'Arte to the state university, from the Casa della Poesia to Palazzo Marino.