For the first time in 30 years, film lovers in Gaza were finally given the chance to watch a movie in a cinema, but only for one night.
According to Independent UK reports, the citizens were able to watch the premier of a film called Ten Years, a movie that depicts the story of how Palestinian prisoners are treated in Israeli prisons.
Actors who took part in the film were also present at the Samer Cinema, which has been closed since the 1960s.
Nermin Ziara, one of the actors, said that he was happy that the cinema has been reopened, while emphasizing that films and documentaries play a crucial role in the society’s development.
“We as Palestinians need to have a large space for art. Society needs to develop through films and documentaries,” said Ziara.
Meanwhile, an audience member, Jawdat Abu Ramadan said that the time has come for a permanent cinema to be opened in Gaza.
“We need to live like humans, with cinemas, public spaces and parks,” said Ramadan.
Film Organiser, Ghada Salmi, pointed out that the Ten Years screening represents the ongoing efforts “to bring back the idea of cinema to Gaza.”
Currently, there are approximately two million citizens living under an Israel blockade in Gaza. There were also other cinemas that was opened longer than the Samer Cinema, however, they were eventually closed in the late 1980s.
In 1995, there were a few attempts made to reopen cinemas in the territory, but the efforts faced grenade attacks by radical convervative groups who opposed the idea of entertainment.
BBC reports said that Hamas currently enforces conservative views inside Gaza, and all movies must be pre-approved by them before they’re screened, even privately.
Over the past few years, films have occasionally been screened outdoors or privately in rented halls, despite the lack of cinemas.