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Le Cinéma Club Presents SLINGSHOT HIP HOP A film by J. REEM SALLOUM

SLINGSHOT HIP HOP a film by J. REEM SALLOUM. 2008. Palestine/USA. 83 min. A powerful portrait of Palestine’s emergent hip hop scene filmed across multiple zones of resistance. SUMMER MUSIC FESTIVAL

Continuing our month-long Summer Music Festival, we take a look at the hip hop scene in Palestine, where artists such as DAM, Arapeyat, and PR have been creating protest rap since the early ‘00s.

 

The Palestinian-American visual artist J. Reem Salloum’s energetic look at Palestine’s emergent hip hop scene is both a striking document of resistance and a vibrant vision of creative activity spurring from the most unexpected of situations. Filmed in the style of a classic rap music video—not unlike those of Nas and DMX, who are constantly referred throughout the film—Slingshot Hip Hop demonstrates the universal appeal of the genre and its importance when it comes to expressing social and political ills. 

 

Shot over four-and-a-half years and edited down from over 700 hours of footage, Slingshot Hip Hop pares down the origins of Palestinian hip hop to its most powerful and intimate moments. Filmed with rappers living under Israeli occupation in Gaza, Lyd, Akka, and the West Bank, Salloum’s documentary is not only the product of tireless work through unimaginably difficult conditions, but also a cinematic embodiment of the collective struggle against oppression present in every corner of Palestine and echoed throughout the world.

 

 

“As a Palestinian I find it hard to find hope in the face of so much daily destruction in the West Bank and Gaza and it often feels unstoppable. But when I first heard Palestinian hip hop, I felt inspired.” J. REEM SALLOUM

 

In order to film in Gaza and the West Bank, Salloum had to rely on friends who’d help her sneak cameras past Israeli officials. Her complimentary decision to switch between footage she’d shot and footage created by the rappers themselves reflects the degree of collective-action involved in making Slingshot Hip Hop. These stylistic alternations, which provide the film with its dynamism, evoke the ad hoc genesis of its artists’ politically urgent songs; in turn, coating the documentary with the same sense of gravity.

 

J. Reem Salloum is a Palestinian-American artist and filmmaker. Her work often centers the experience of displacement and exile among Middle Eastern people, including members of her own family. Her experimental short Planet of the Arabs premiered at Sundance in 2005 and was followed up by Slingshot Hip Hop. Her art and video has been exhibited at the Institute of Contemporary Art in London, Wallspace Gallery in New York, and Reina Sofia in Madrid in addition to film festivals such as IDFA, New Directors / New Films, and DoxBox Syria. In 2016, she was the artist-in-residence at New York University.

 

Text written by Nicolas Pedrero-Setzer. Special thanks to Suha Araj.