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World Music & Cinema

Vol 3. The Middle East

Against all odds, cross-cultural collaborations now characterise the cinema of the Middle East: Elia Suleiman, the Palestinian director, and singer Natacha Atlas in Segell Ikhtifa / Chronicle of a Disappearance; the Palestinian director Ali Nasser and Nachum Heiman, a major figure in Israeli music for the last fifty years, for the film The Milky Way; the Israeli director Micha Shagrir’s Kav Hatefer, a documentary on life on each side of the ‘line of demarcation’ between Israelis and Palestinians. Anat Halachmi’s documentary Channels of Rage features two rappers, the Israeli Subliminal and the Palestinian Tamer Nafar, unable to continue their collaboration due to the current political situation. The rich mixture of cultures of these countries, situated on the edges of Europe, Africa and Asia is reflected in the music of several films: Terminal, a documentary by Daniel Vaxman on Noa, an Israeli singer of Yemeni origin; the music composed by Israel Bright for Barbecue People by David Ofek and Yossi Madmony; the mixed-origin composer Shem-Tom Levy’s rap in four languages for Uri Einbar’s Province United and a hybrid raï for Benny Torati’s Desperado Square; Ehud Banay integrates African motifs into Ra’anan Alexandrowicz’s James’ Journey to Jerusalem. Other tracks include music from Hany Abu-Assad’s Palestinian ‘blocked road movie’ Rana’s Wedding – Jerusalem, Another Day and his docu-fiction on a collective Palestinian taxi driver in Ford-Transit, featuring the voice of Maya Nasri. Salim Daw’s documentary Mafateeh / Key is accompanied by Taiseer Elias’s lyrical oud-playing. The Lebanese films The Kite by Randa Chahal-Sabbag and Ghassan Salhab’s Terra Incognita are accompanied by the golden voice of Souad Massi and the electric music of the Lebanese group Soapkills.