For all the deadly complexities swirling throughout the political tinderbox that is the Middle East, there's always room for more understanding. And what's more universal than a good movie? The 4th Annual Houston Palestine Film Festival is certainly timely. Last year's festival was voted Best Film Festival in the Houston Press Best of Houston¨ issue, so this year's program is eagerly awaited. Co-presented on two subsequent weekends at Rice University's Media Center and at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, the festival showcases Ahmad Habash's Fatenah, the first ever Palestinian 3D animation, and Elia Suleiman's black comedy The Time That Remains, described by film critic Roger Ebert as a "deadpan Palestinian comedy...I was surprised by how it grew on me." There is an evening of shorts, a harrowing portrait of honor killing (Maria's Grotto) and Nasri Hajjaj's memory-like documentary on Palestinian poet Mahmoud Darwish, As the Poet Said. Screenings at Rice Media Center will be followed by audience discussions and musical performances by, among others, Sabreena da Witch and Amir Bellamy. The first screening of Gaza Winter is at 7 p.m. May 14. Rice University, 6100 Main. For a full schedule and location information, visit www.hpff.org. $10.
Fridays-Sundays. Starts: May 14. Continues through May 23, 2010