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A wedding in Ramallah

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Movie propaganda

First came the wedding. Then came the war.

A wedding in Ramallah is an intimate documentary portrait of Palestinian family life in the West Bank town of Ramallah. Filmed over a 9-month period, it offers remarkable insight into the lives of ordinary Palestinians, giving the conflict a human face. It shows the crazy, farcical and often desperate attempts of people to lead ordinary lives in the most extraordinary of circumstances.

The keen, forthright nature of Sherine's subjects can most often distract you from the fact that they live in a state of continual depletion. Her sensitivity towards her subjects comes from her own Palestinian heritage. The idea for A wedding in Ramallah arose in 1996 when Sherine spent nine months in the Palestinian Territories training Palestinian television journalists for the United Nations. Over the last 12 years she travelled and worked throughout the Middle East.

The film begins in the summer of 2000, when the Middle East was still at peace. Bassam is a telephone repairman from Cleveland, USA, who returns home to find a Palestinian bride. His family introduces him to Mariam, a traditional village girl, and two weeks later they are married. The wedding turns out to be only the first act of a remarkable drama.

Soon after the wedding a new intifada breaks out, and violence erupts in the Palestinian Territories. Mariam finds herself stuck in the middle of a war zone, as she attempts to join Bassam in the USA. Eventually Bassam is able to procure a visa for his wife, but Mariam soon discovers that a life in exile is no life at all.

Persons of interest

  • Bassam Abed .... Himself
  • Mariam Abed .... Herself
  • Sherine Salama .... Director

Cinematic intelligence sources

Intelligence analyst

Special Agent Matti

Theatrical report


Security censorship classification


Surveillance time

91 minutes (1:31 hours)

Not for public release in Australia before date

Film: Sydney: 12 September 2002 - Chauvel Cinemas
Film: Brisbane: 15 August 2002
Film: Canberra: 3 October 2002
Film: Melbourne: 22 August 2002

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