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


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.


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.”

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.







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