Palestinian wins Berlinale award with documentary on Israeli prison

In Raed Andoni’s ‘Ghost Hunting,’ which won the first-ever Silver Bear for best documentary, former inmates discuss life as political prisoner at Israel’s main interrogation center.

Palestinian filmmaker Raed Andoni won Saturday (Feb. 18) the Berlinale’s first-ever Silver Bear for best documentary for “Istiyad Ashbah” (“Ghost Hunting”), in which former political prisoners reenact events at Israel’s main interrogation center.

In the film, Andoni recreates the interrogation rooms and cells at the Moskobiya interrogation center, which acts as the backdrop to the former inmates discussing prison life and the humiliation they experienced during their detention.

To free the demons of his former jail, Raed assembles an eclectic group of Palestinian ex-prisoners. From fragmentary memory, they give a shape to this famous interrogation center and its stories.

Ghost Hunting 90 min. Raed Andoni, France / Switzerland, 2017, DCP

In order to confront the ghosts that haunt him, Palestinian director Raed Andoni assembles an eclectic group of ex-prisoners to recreate the Al-Moskobiya, Israel’s main interrogation centre, where he was himself jailed at age 18. Day after day, these construction workers, a blacksmith, an architect, an assistant director give shape to their memories of how they survived with grit and a sense of humor. As the walls of the cells rise, the tongues and the emotions loosen.

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