At Berlin fest, Palestinian film tackles prison trauma

Haunted by his own time behind bars, Palestinian director Raed Andoni recreates a notorious Israeli interrogation centre — and has ex-prisoners re-enact experiences in a bid to set their demons free. In the running for best documentary at the Berlin film festival, Andoni’s “Istiyad Ashbah” (Ghost Hunting) examines the rarely documented collective trauma suffered by former Palestinian prisoners.

“In Palestinian society, to survive detention and interrogation is like a rite of passage, you either come out a hero or you come out totally broken,” the celebrated Ramallah-based filmmaker told AFP this week after the film’s Berlinale premiere. “And then people compare notes: how many days without sleep? How long in solitary?” the 45-year-old said.

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