Palestinian labourers were preparing the hall for the screening of “10 Years” at Gaza’s Samer Cinema (AFP/Getty Images)
For the first time in 30 years, film lovers in Gaza are able to watch a movie in a cinema at a screening of the premier of a film about the treatment of Palestinian prisoners.
Gaza City’s Samer Cinema has been closed since the 1960s, but the building was hosting about 300 movie-goers this weekend, along with a press gaggle.
Men and women walked into the building to watch Ten Years, a feature-length movie about Palestinian prisoners in Israeli prisons.
Members of the audience, Jawdat abu Ramadan, told a reporter that it is time to open a permanent cinema in Gaza.
“We need to live like humans, with cinemas, parks and public spaces.”
Approximately two million people are currently living in Gaza under an Israeli blockade. Other cinemas remained open longer than the Samer Cinema, in the late 1980s only to shutter.
Attempts to reopen the cinemas in 1995 were met with grenade confronted by radical Islamists.
Hamas is now imposing conservative views within Gaza. The BBC previously reported that before they are screened, even privately, Hamas authorities should pre-approve all films.
Despite the lack of cinemas, over the past few years, films have sometimes been shown outdoors or privately in rented halls.
Organizer Ghada Salmi told AFP that the Ten Years screening was “symbolic” of ongoing efforts “to bring back the idea of cinema to Gaza.”
‘Through films and documentaries, society needs to develop ‘


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