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Gaza movie theaters remain shuttered

Movie experts and officials are calling on the Gaza Ministry of Culture to reopen the movie theaters that were closed down during the first intifada.
A Hamas policeman rides a motorcycle past a billboard promoting a film titled "Imad Aqel" in Gaza City August 3, 2009. "Imad Aqel", which had its premiere on Saturday, is the first feature film produced by the Islamist Hamas movement and the title is the name of a Palestinian militant whom Israel held accountable for the deaths of 13 soldiers and settlers. REUTERS/Ismail Zaydah (GAZA POLITICS SOCIETY ENTERTAINMENT) - RTR26DLS
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GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip — Nothing remains of the Gaza Strip movie theaters except their names used to describe squares located nearby. These names have become associated, in the minds of the new generation of Gazans, with geographical locations, as the meaning of the term cinema is no longer part of their collective memory. At the beginning of the first intifada in 1987, all movie theaters in Gaza were closed, which weakened the nascent Palestinian cinema’s development.

According to Gaza cinema historian Mahmoud Roqa, the Gaza Strip hosted a number of movie theaters during the second part of the 1940s, with al-Khadra cinema in the Shajaiya neighborhood, located in central Gaza City, being the first among them. At the beginning of the 1950s, al-Khadra cinema was relocated and its name changed to al-Samer cinema. Subsequently, the mid-1950s saw the emergence of al-Jala and al-Nasr cinemas, as well as the Amer drive-in theater, all of which were located in Gaza City.

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