In 2021 we screened a previous work of Jumana’s called Wild Relatives, which looks at the journey of seeds to the Svalbard Seed vault in Norway, and the colonial politics of seeds collection and preservation. We are excited to screen this new film, following on from these themes, to look at the ways in which the occupation of land puts the ancestral knowledge of plants under threat.
Foragers depicts the dramas around the practice of foraging for wild edible plants in Palestine/Israel with wry humour and a meditative pace. Shot in the Golan Heights, the Galilee and Jerusalem, it employs fiction, documentary and archival footage to portray the impact of Israeli nature protection laws on these customs. The restrictions prohibit the collection of the artichoke-like ’akkoub and za’atar (thyme), and have resulted in fines and trials for hundreds caught collecting these native plants. For Palestinians, these laws constitute an ecological veil for legislation that further alienates them from their land while Israeli state representatives insist on their scientific expertise and duty to protect. Following the plants from the wild to the kitchen, from the chases between the foragers and the nature patrol, to courtroom defences, Foragers captures the joy and knowledge embodied in these traditions alongside their resilience to the prohibitive law. By reframing the terms and constraints of preservation, the film raises questions around the politics of extinction, namely who determines what is made extinct and what gets to live on.
This screening programme is a collaboration between ATLAS Arts and Cample Line, and is supported by Film Hub Scotland.