Gaza Surf Club ( Philip Gnadt, Mickey Yamine, 2016): Germany

Reviewed by Cyrus Davar  Viewed at Arlington Theater at Santa Barbara Film Festival 2017. Gaza Surf Club was by far my absolute favorite movie at the film festival this year. This film will untie your shoe laces, remove your shoes and place you right into the Mile riders. . In a country with no hope of life these courageous men find the simple enjoyments in  life. With the sea as their playground they turn to the ocean in hope for change. Trapped in “the world’s largest open-air prison” and ruled by war, a new generation is drawn to the beaches. Sick of occupation and political gridlock, they find their own personal freedom in the waves of the Mediterranean. The emotions that you receive while watching this films are so impactful that one would simply cannot understand how this is still being allowed in today day and age. This story submerges you into what life in Gaza might have to offer. How severe things really are in such a catastrophic state for a country that has been caged off from the Universe. The Gaza Strip has become an embodiment of misery, its tightly-packed population trapped between relentless Israeli assaults and a strictly controlled seafront. It’s definitely not a place one expects to find surfers, but for years a group of men  have looked to riding the waves as their only form of mental escape. Using homemade boards or boards that had been brought by groups such as Surfing 4 Peace. After having been denied 5 times of a visa application to come to Hawaii, Ibrahim finally gets accepted to come to Hawaii and intern with the local surfboard shaper. This documentary captures the emotional detail in a heartwarming, fascinating touching way. Bringing you along the for the journey ibrahim encounters a large culture shock within moments of arriving to hawaii, dreaming of this day to leave the cage of the gaza strip and to ride the waves of hawaii. That after all maybe there is hope.

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