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Oscar-nominated filmmaker Abu-Assad: Art should be a form of protest

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Mumbai, Oct 22 (IANS) Dutch-Palestinian filmmaker Hany Abu-Assad believes in using cinema as a form of protest.

Asked about his opinion on the idea of ‘art for art’s sake’, Abu-Assad promptly responded: “It’s nonsense. I’m using art as a form of protest. Art should always have a purpose. It should make you think, it should evoke emotions.”

Abu-Assad’s statement came at the ongoing Jio MAMI 21st Mumbai Film Festival with Star, during an interactive session with National Award-winning Indian actress-filmmaker Nandita Das.

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Known for his Oscar-nominated films such as “Paradise Now” and “Omar”, Abu-Assad said that he wanted to be a filmmaker since his days as a youngster. However, his parents disapproved and so he had to finish his formal education. He did a job for a while, before finally pursuing his dream.

“Watching the movie ‘One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest’ made me realise that filmmaking is a means that would allow me to resist oppression without violence. So, I completed my studies in airplane engineering, more to please my parents, and became an assistant to a Palestinian film director,” he recalled.

Living in times when political polarisation has affected every individual all over the world and hyper-nationalism is on the rise, Abu-Assad noted: “Almost everyone has two identities. One is political, which makes you believe that you belong to a particular nation, a religion and society. The other identity is your true self. It is who you are, what you believe in and stand for. As a Palestinian filmmaker, whatever I do is a reaffirmation of my national identity.”

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Hany is also the Head of Jury of the International Competition at the festival.

Jio MAMI 21st Mumbai Film Festival with Star continues till October 24.

–IANS

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