Triple Exposure Goes to the Movies

When art teacher Rimah asked her students if they had ever been to a movie theatre, not a single student raised his or her hand. Most students in Triple Exposure's art and photography classes, whether from the local neighborhood or the nearby refugee camps, had only seen films at home---and only if their family owned a television. Seeing a film from the inside of a movie theatre had never been an option.

There are many reasons why. Besides the fact that the ticket price is often out of reach of many families, there has been little opportunity in Nablus to watch a movie on the big screen. During the turmoil of the First and Second Intifadas, Nabulsi residents, especially refugees, were subject to curfews, military raids, and incursions by Israeli settlers on a wider scale than is experienced today. As a result, the market for movie-going collapsed and the city went without a theatre for 22 years. It wasn't until 2009, three years after the end of the Second Intifada, that Cinema City, a 174-seat theatre located in the Old City, opened to the public.

"It's been missing from Nablus, the cinema houses, been missing since the first intifada, over 20 years. It's the talk of the street, I keep hearing," he says, laughing. - Farouk Masri, manager of Cinema City, in a 2009 interview with NPR.

With this in mind, Triple Exposure took over 40 students and volunteers to watch their first film at Cinema City this past Saturday. Students enjoyed the full cinematic experience, eating popcorn and sitting with their classroom friends while watching "X-Large," an Egyptian film about overcoming obstacles and finding your inner beauty. The students, who had been anxiously awaiting the experience for weeks, chattered about the film the entire bus ride home. And, when asked on Monday what they thought of going to the movies, they gave a resounding response: "It was beautiful!"