Shot a few weeks after the January 2009 Israeli offensive in Gaza ended, the compelling, sensitively crafted docu “Aisheen (Still Alive in Gaza),” from Swiss helmer Nicolas Wadimoff, captures the human suffering and devastation wrought, but really focuses on daily survival. Observing ordinary Gazans literally picking up the pieces of their past despite harsh, dangerous conditions, the pic lets the powerful images and articulate subjects speak for themselves without voiceover narration. Quality broadcast item could find limited theatrical play in select territories; further fest exposure is guaranteed.
Traveling the limited confines of the Gaza Strip, Wadimoff visits some unusual places, including a beach, a zoo, a radio station, a children’s recreation center and an amusement park. More disturbingly, he shows the massive chaos at a U.N. food distribution site, and missiles still exploding by the smugglers’ underground tunnels near the Egyptian border. Despite their exhaustion, the people he films display ingenious ways of adapting and persevering, while matter-of-factly expressing their feelings about the Israelis and Palestinian politicians. Excellent music track by local rap group DARG Team epitomizes Gaza’s mood of misery, defiance and hope with their lyrics.