Human Rights Film Festival: Winners hone in on Russia and Gaza

"La vie est belle" de Mohamed Jalaby
"La vie est belle" de Mohamed Jalaby Copyright Euronews
By Euronews
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The 22nd edition of the FIFDH Human Rights Film Festival awarded Mohamed Jalaby's 'Life is Beautiful', a story of a Palestinian stranded outside Gaza.

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For the past 22 years, Geneva has hosted the Human Rights Film Festival (FIFDH) in March, in collaboration with the UN Human Rights Council.

The festival combines debates and films, with internationally renowned artists and activists coming to meet the public and present their work and their struggles.

This year, philosopher and activist Angela Davis was the guest of honour and a member of a panel devoted to police violence around the world.

"Young people are always at the forefront of struggles, and I'm very excited by the movements all over the world, here in Europe but also in the Middle East, in Africa and particularly in response to the Israeli war on Gaza", she told Euronews Culture.

From Gaza came the film Life is Beautiful by Mohamed Jalaby, which recounts the trials and tribulations of a filmmaker unable to return to see his family in Gaza, as he because is stranded in Norway.

The film won the Sergio de Vieira de Melo award for best documentary.

Mohamed Jalaby took to the stage still reeling from the news the day before that his director of photography and a photographer friend had died.

The Russian film La cage cherche un oiseau (The Cage Seeks a Bird) tied for the prize for best dramatic film, with the Chilean film The Settlers.

Director Malika Musaeva told Euronews Culture: "The image that Russian propaganda has built up since the Russian-Chechen war, that Chechnya is a land of terrorists, Boevik (rebel soldier from the Caucasus regions, editor's note), has always been this cliché linked to Chechnya, so to speak, and it has always been used in this way. And of course, I wanted to break that as well."

The film takes us to Chechnya, a territory almost invisible in the cinema, and into the lives of young girls who hesitate between the cage and the freedom to fly...

The FIFDH was held in Geneva from 8 to 17 March.

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