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"emotional rescue" won a special prize as part of Al-Jazeera film festival 2006

Helena Waldmann presents
El-Funoun Dance Troupe, Ramallah asking for
emotional rescue

Helena Waldmann shot a 20-minute dance film with the Palestinian El-Funoun Dance group. Six dancers told Helena Waldmann the story of blockades and crimes against human-rights. From solitary confinement, checkpoints, from people who become crazy because they couldn't cope with the walls and locked doors; the prison in which they were forced to live in. They explained about members of their families who were shot to the ground by Israeli soldiers for no reason at all, from refugee camps and their homesickness for a home in which their grandparents once lived. Emotional rescue is necessary.
Emotional rescue delivers an ambulance which rescues the emotionally damaged. In the centre of things are an ambulance driver and his friend, a coffee salesman, which stimulates everyone, and who is convinced that his coffee keeps people living, even under the most difficult circumstances. Again and again the control centre sends the ambulances to Nablus, Birzeit, Qualqilya, the Dead Sea, the Al-Amari refugee camp, the Qulandia checkpoint and to Gaza, whose airport is destroyed. A dancer dances in front of the window of the tower; her movement drives the fantasies to escape. The window pane becomes the windscreen of the speeding ambulance, in this divided country. In split-screen sequence memories of Israeli soldiers appear, who throw tear-gas and smash down houses. The film stops and starts again and again at the checkpoints; at the stopping white hand on red
ground. Only the ambulance, as protagonist, is allowed through to collect those who have become crazy, and those people who have had their memories shattered, and bring them to a safe place. We see the barren region, the closed-in enclave Qualqilya and the patrolling helicopters over Palestine. The continuous operation of the ambulance determines the speed of the film; parallel assemblies make it clear in an intrusive way, what goes on in the heads and bodies. Completed with short statements from the dancers, the film ends at an imaginary escape point: the Dead Sea, which the exhausted - with the help of a sip of magic coffee - relieve in the freedom of the endless horizon.

Director/Script: Helena Waldmann
Choreography: Helena Waldmann & El-Funoun Dance Troupe Ramallah
Camera: Dieter Stürmer
Editing: Ronny Bischoff, Nahed Awwad
Music: Erich Heissmann, Eduardo Delgado Lopez
Producer: Fareed C. Majari
Executive Producert: George Khleifi

Dancers and Actors:
El-Funoun Dance Troupe Ramallah:
Khaled Katamish, Noora Baker, Husein Aamar, Tamer Abdo, Tamara Habash, Nur Faradneh, Munir Quar, Ruba Odeh, Saji Dar Yousef, Lana Abu Hijleh, Shatha Salah, Najeh Masalemeh, Ziad Haj Ali, Yasmin Qatamish, Bisan Omari, Maali Maali, Mansourn Mansour

Fawanese Theatre Groupe Gaza:
Rashid Abu Sharkh, Majeda Abu Sharkh, Inas Al Saqa, Hudda Asfour, Sana Saber, Ziad Nasseralh, Ibrahim Salman, Mouhammad Antar, Ola Abu Sido

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