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Palestinian Film Festival London 2013

Flying Paper (2013)

Monday 20 May 2013, by Tilly Lunken

Flying Paper (2013) Nitin Sawhney and Roger Hill is the sort of film that captures your heart as much as your politics. It involves adorably precocious children, wonderful ocean views, cute animations and a story that really opens your eyes to the lives of people under occupation.

The blurb describes a film about the “creative resilience of children” but really Flying Paper is about so much more than that. It is about embracing and using your own culture as a way to celebrate your identity in the face of oppression. It is about how the UN and the international community can have a practical impact on children’s lives. It is about freedom.

It might be sweet to be a small child flying a kite, capturing the sky and the freedom of wind but there is nothing sweet that this same small child’s only chance of experiencing freedom flying this kite. Flying Paper never lets us quite forget this and this is a great strength of the film. It asks its audience, please, laugh with us, share in our joy but do not forget our pain and our reality.

The joy of kite flying can be experienced by everyone, with minimal tools. Kite culture in Gaza is an important tradition, it is a skill passed down through generations and it is increasingly becoming a symbol of what can be achieved by the occupied territory. These kids hold world records, they make beautiful objects and they can fly.

The film is an excellent portrait of a country, crawling out of ruins and into an uncertain future. If Palestine does this with the grins, creativity, passion and skills of these kids then it has a fighting chance.

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