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Young Freud in Gaza
Directed by Pea Holmquist and Suzanne Khardalian
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Life has been difficult for Palestinians under Israeli Occupation in the Gaza Strip since the Six Day War in 1967. Since the January 2006 electoral victory of Hamas and the blockade of Gaza's border by Israel, with unemployment soaring to 60% and food, water and medicine in short supply, the psychological needs of its traumatized population have never been greater. Professional psychologists, however, are in desperately short supply.

YOUNG FREUD IN GAZA profiles Ayed, a young psychotherapist for the Palestinian Authority's Clinic for Mental Health, and shows his consultations with a variety of patients, both male and female, adults and children, in his office and during house calls, providing therapy or prescribing medication for depression, stress, anxiety attacks and suicidal tendencies.

Filmed during 2006-2008, against the violent backdrop of armed clashes between Hamas and Fatah factions, Israeli missile attacks and the constant overhead presence of a surveillance dirigible, the film shows Ayed training young wives and mothers in deep-breathing exercises to calm anxiety, counseling maimed Hamas and Fatah militants in meditation techniques, and leading children in group therapy sessions in which they discuss their reaction to the death of siblings and draw pictures to cope with their emotions.

film still

YOUNG FREUD IN GAZA also shows Ayed at home, relating to his parents and other family members and friends, in the process revealing that this young mental-health doctor is struggling with some personal issues of his own, including serious doubts that he is able to help his patients. As he acknowledges, "Gaza needs a million psychologists."

★★★"Offering a moving glimpse of a population suffering from violence and deprivation in a region torn by hatred and strife, this is recommended."—Video Librarian

"Puts a human face on the travails of daily life in Gaza… a compelling and disturbing glimpse of the human toll of an occupation lived daily. Quietly, subtly, the film asks us what is 'normal' when you are occupied, living under a curfew." -Rebecca Romani, Cineaste

"Timely… an engrossing, probing movie… a useful discussion tool for classes and seminars in Middle East Studies." -Leonardo On-Line Reviews

"A very touching new documentary… one of the most interesting films I have ever seen about a contemporary psychologist… Hopefully, all psychotherapists, patients, etc. will be able to see this excellent, sympathetic film."-The Charleston Gazette

"Arresting… a fair-minded, intimately probing documentary... there's no question that the very definition of psychotherapy means something different under occupation."—Ella Taylor, The Village Voice

"The filmmakers convey a very intimate portrait of the devastating impact of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict."—New York Jewish Film Festival

"Excellent… switches between laughter and grief."—

2012 Frames of Mind Film Festival Vancouver
2010 American Psychological Association Film Festival
2009 Chicago Palestine Film Festival
2009 Boston Palestine Film Festival
2009 New York Jewish Film Festival
2009 Frames of Mind Film Festival Vancouver
2008 International Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam
2008 Middle East International Film Festival Dubai
2008 Nordisk Panorama Film Festival

58 minutes / Color
Arabic / English subtitles
Release: 2009
Copyright: 2008

For colleges, universities, government agencies, hospitals and corporations

This DVD is sold with a license for institutional use and Public Performance rights.

Subject areas:
Gaza, Human Rights, Mental Health, Middle East, Palestine, Psychology, Sociology, US & Canadian Broadcast Rights

Watch the trailer:

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