Docpoint – Helsinki Documentary Film Festival



Funded by multiple arts organizations, the hybrid documentary Foragers from the Berlin-based Palestinian sculptor and filmmaker Jumana Manna investigates the age-old Palestinian practice of gathering wild edibles such as the herb za’atar and the delicacy akkoub, a thistle-like plant with medicinal properties, and how these traditions conflict with Israeli nature conservation laws that essentially criminalize the Palestinian herb-picking culture. Including some unexpected humor, Manna’s gentle approach is more poetic meditation than commercial nonfiction.

Alissa Simon, Variety

The film teaches us a fair amount about Middle Eastern botany and cuisine, and the social customs around both. But what is always beneath it is an argument about social control and cultural appropriation, in an absolutely concrete sense: the idea that Manna’s subjects are now expected to buy their traditional herbs from officially designated sources, like the kibbutz where Manna interviews a clearly uncomfortable akkoub plantation manager.

Manna’s credentials as a visual artist are manifestly clear in fixed-camera landscape shots that fill the screen, while allowing us to watch people wandering in the distance and to clearly pick out other moving and static details. The same goes for an imposing aerial opening shot, and a final panorama that makes clear the foraging law’s wider historical stakes for Palestinians.

Jonathan Romney, Screen Daily

Original Title: Al-Yad al-Khadra
Language: Arabic, Hebrew
Subtitles: English
Length: 64 min
Age Limit: K7
Year: 2022
Production Country: Palestine

Director: Jumana Manna
Producer: Jumana Manna
Screenplay: Jumana Manna, Rabea Eghbarieh
Editing: Jumana Manna, Katrin Ebersohn
Cinematographer: Marte Vold, Ashraf Dowani, Yaniv Linton
Music: Rashad Becker
Sound Design: Rashad Becker