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Cannes Film Festival: Yolande Zauberman follows THE BELLE FROM GAZA

Cannes - La belle de Gaza (The Belle from Gaza
French filmmaker and documentarian, Yolande Zauberman is known for her bold and empathetic approach to storytelling. Zauberman's films often explore themes of identity, trauma, and social justice. Zauberman's fearless filmmaking gives a voice to marginalized communities and challenges audiences to confront uncomfortable truths. Her recent project La belle de Gaza (The Belle from Gaza) presented in Cannes follows Palestinian trans people fleeing Gaza to live openly.

AM: How did you creatively prepare yourself for this project?
YZ: This is the third movie of the trilogy. My first movie was called Would You Have Sex with an Arab? and I used to go to see producers and tell them “You know, you will not get money from the states, and you will not get money from TV with such a title. But if somebody puts money on the table, I'll bring you back a good movie.” And again, somebody did this time around. La Belle de Gaza is about the freedom of these women and my own freedom too. I loved to film in the night, and I loved filming these women. People who are wearing so many different identities inside and who are making a sort of peace between all their identities. For me, that's the future.

AM: Were there any obstacles during filming?
YZ: I never have that. I have such a pleasure when I film that people feel it around and they trust it. When I decide to start I have to be in love with the film. It's like a dance and it becomes contagious for all the crew and so on.

AM: Though often victimized your characters have triumphed throughout the film…
YZ: Exactly. I always want to film people not as victims, but as heroes. You know, they are the heroes of their lives. And there's so much courage to be who they are. There's so much courage to go all the way they do. But they have something to teach us about their freedom. There's no betrayal, it gives hope in the future.

AM: What's your take about sexual liberation in the Middle East?
YZ: I believe that sexuality is political. I believe that desire is political. And that's the place where I like to be. I want to be where you have individuals who try to be who they are.

AM: Your final thoughts about being part of Cannes this year?
YZ: I love this festival. To tell you the truth it’s my third time here. But my dream was to bring the cast to Cannes. And with what is happening in the world it was a very strong feeling that we were selected. I could not rejoice myself because of the situation so I kept calm all the time. Also, many people wanted me to change the title but I refused. The welcoming is quite strong though.