Palestinian director Maha Haj dedicates film to slain journalist Shireen Abu Akleh at Cannes Film Festival

Palestinian director Maha Haj dedicates film to slain journalist Shireen Abu Akleh at Cannes Film Festival
The Palestinian director of the film 'Mediterranean Fever', set to premier at the Cannes Film Festival, dedicated the film to veteran journalist Shireen Abu Akleh, who was killed two weeks ago by Israeli forces.
2 min read
26 May, 2022
Palestinian film director Maha Haj at the Cannes Film Festival, where her film 'Mediterranean Fever' had its premiere [Getty]

Palestinian director Maha Haj has dedicated her latest work to slain journalist Shireen Abu Akleh, who was killed by Israeli soldiers earlier this month.

Haj made the dedication during the premiere of her film "Mediterranean Fever" at the 75th edition of the prestigious Cannes Film Festival, where some of the most globally anticipated films are being showcased.

"Two weeks ago, Shireen Abu Akleh, an icon, an excellent journalist, and a beloved daughter of Palestine, was assassinated. We will never forget you Shireen, we love you, we cherish you and we dedicate this screening to you," Haj said.

"May your soul rest in power. For Shireen," she added.

Her dedication was followed by applause from the audience.


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Abu Akhleh, a trailblazing journalist whose career spanned 25 years with the pan-Arab Al Jazeera network, was killed by Israeli fire while covering raids in Jenin in the occupied West Bank.

Haj’s film "Mediterranean Fever", which stars Palestinian actors Ashraf Farah and Amer Hlehel, centres on Waleed, who lives in Haifa, Israel with his wife and children. He aspires to be a writer.

Waleed, who suffers from chronic depression, develops a close friendship with his neighbour, a petty criminal named Jalal. An unexpected friendship emerges between the two men, who embark on a scheme that leads them on a journey of dark encounters.

The film, which is a co-production between Palestine, Germany France, Cyprus and Qatar, tackles the dynamics of male friendship and the strain of living under occupation, according to Variety.

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Haj told the American entertainment website that she rejected any Israeli funding for the production, as it is set in Haifa, because she wanted to present the film as solely Palestinian.

Under Israeli law, productions that receive state funding must present themselves as Israeli, according to The Times of Israel.

"Mediterranean Fever" is featured as part of the Un Certain Regard section, a category that showcases non-traditional films with unusual styles.