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Award-winning short film “The Present” gives a glimpse of Palestinian life

The Present, a short film shot in the West Bank, just won the 2021 British Film Actors’ Award for Best Short Film along with an Academy Award nomination and dozens of prizes around the world. It sheds light on a reality that is ignored by the US press in reporting Israeli bombs falling on Palestine and rockets sent from Gaza into Israel.

The 24-minute film follows a father and his young daughter as they set out from their home to buy an anniversary gift—a highly desired refrigerator. It turns out that this seemingly simple goal is nearly unattainable. The pair is forced to navigate Israeli checkpoints, heavily armed Israeli soldiers and segregated roads, the father spending hours waiting behind bars as his ID is checked and rechecked, renegotiating what would otherwise be a simple route as new army roadblocks appear out of nowhere..

“… these checkpoints aren’t here to make lives easier.” They exist to “to deliberately frustrate and humiliate” and to “forcefully encourage” the Palestinians to leave, said the film’s director Farah Nabulsi (quoted in the Hollywood Reporter).

The film features the renowned screen and stage star Saleh Bakri and Maryam Kanj as his daughter. The film was acquired by Netflix and is currently available.

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