Mohammad Bakri

 
 

Mohammad Bakri was born in the Palestinian village of Bi'ina in the Galilee in 1953. He attended elementary school in his hometown and received his secondary education in the nearby city of Acre. He studied acting and Arabic literature at Tel Aviv University in 1973 where he graduated two years later.

 

Bakri began his acting career in plays in various theatres, most notably the Habima theatre in Tel-Aviv, the Haifa Theatre and Al-Kasaba Theatre in Ramallah. After a few years of acting in Palestinian and Israeli films, Bakri began to act in international film productions such as Costa-Gavras’ Kannah K, Private, and most recently in the Taviani Brother’s controversial film The Skylark's Farm (2007) about the Armenian Genocide.

One of Bakri’s most daring documentary films is Jenin, Jenin about Israel’s destruction of the Palestinian camp in the West Bank in 2002. This was followed by Since You Left a tribute to his mentor Emile Habiby and a crucial account of the court case resulting from the screening of Jenin Jenin. Almost all of Bakri’s films have been influenced by the Occupation and remain an eloquent account of the internal struggle of the Palestinian people.

Bakri began his solo performance of the great play The Pessoptimist in 1986. Since then, he has performed this play 1500 times in Arabic and Hebrew in USA, Japan, France, Italy, Germany, Egypt, Morocco, Belgium, Denmark, Sweden, Tunis, Jordan and Palestine and Israel.

Bakri also produced and directed three documentary films dealing exclusively with the Palestinian political struggle. In each documentary, Bakri brings the camera and microphone to residents’ and refugee’s homes, meticulously poses questions relating to their experiences of the subject matter, and selectively pieces together recorded fragments to compose award winning, fact-to-fact features. "Jenin-Jenin" earned two awards: the "Best Film" award at the Carthage International Film Festival, 2002, and the International Prize for Mediterranean Documentary Filmmaking and Reporting.