Palestinian Filmmaker’s Magic Fix

DUBAI — Less a documentary than a patchwork quilt of Palestine and its people, Raed Andoni’s Fix Me almost saw the filmmaker discard his nationality altogether.

By Adam Zacharias

Published: Sun 13 Dec 2009, 11:31 PM

Last updated: Thu 2 Apr 2015, 9:28 AM

“I didn’t want to be Palestinian anymore,” he recalled during a Dubai International Film Festival (DIFF) press conference yesterday at the Madinat Jumeirah. “But the moment I said to myself ‘I’m not a Palestinian anymore’, I discovered the Palestinian person within me.”

Fix Me is the result of a trip to a psychologist. Andoni, suffering headaches, documents his journey over the course of 20 therapy sessions, as well as looking to friends and family for theirown experiences within the tumultuous region.

“It was an intense emotional experience,” he said.” The film deals with many topics regarding individuality, identity and weakness. It creates a question; it doesn’t contain an answer.”

Andoni’s self-professed “cerebral exploration” is juxtaposed with the physical hardships of his close friend Omar Dabboor. Omar, an electrician from Ramallah who features prominently in the film, has been imprisoned 12 times for his part in the Palestinian resistance movement and survived an assassination attempt.

At present, he is fighting forhis life against an altogether different foe: cancer.

“He’s one of the strongest people I have ever met,” Andoni declared. “There is a dialogue in the film where he tells me he’s strong enough to overcome all the difficulties. He said ‘If I become weak, then I die. I need my strength to resist the occupation’. A human being should be honest with himself, and honest with other people. He was honest throughout the filmmaking process. ”

Speaking through an interpreter, Omar added: “I’m not an actor, I speak about my experiences in prison, the first of which was at 14 years old. I’m struggling with cancer, and I resist the disease based on my experience resisting occupation. I want to be strong because I want to live for my wife and for my daughter.”

Despite his restored pride in being Palestinian, Andoni is still reticent to be labelled a Palestinian director.

“Palestine for me is not just a symbol or a flag,” he claimed. “It’s the experience of my whole life. It’s my memory, the memory of my father and mother. Palestine is the people, not just a piece of land.”

Fix Me first arrived at DIFF two years ago, and has since been picked up by the prestigious Sundance Film Festival in the United States. This year, it has returned to the UAE as part of the Dubai Film Connection, a recent initiative designed to support filmmakers from the Arab world.

The 98-minute film will be screened today from 6.45pm at Mall of the Emirates. See for ticketing and more details.

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