When a Palestinian car thief speaks back to the image of his representation, he opens a door to an industry that only exists in the shadows. Tales of mythical heists reveal a glimpse of the underground world of car theft in Palestine, where Palestinians steal from Israelis, as a way to survive, as a form of reparations, and as an act of struggle. The story is told through the voices of the unheard, of the car thieves and mechanics who chop them for their parts. As they respond to the media images that have shaped their reality, they begin to create images of their own, reconstructing their narratives through archives and virtual realities. Chopped paints a skewed portrait of a generation that was promised peace and freedom, only to find themselves trapped in a game of profit and perpetual domination. Theirs is a last gasp to establish a livelihood, under an apartheid regime that denies their right to live and to work lawfully on their own land.
During the Second Intifada, stolen Israeli cars were commonplace. Everyone had a stolen car, or drove a car with parts from one. The reason for car theft’s acceptance in Palestinian society eventually became clear to us: the act of theft was associated with resistance to the Israeli occupation, particularly in the post-Oslo era. With this film, we set out to investigate the dynamics behind these illegal acts, committed in a context of apartheid and injustice. By putting the audience behind the wheel of a stolen car, we invite them not only to witness the thrill of such a heist, but also to reassess their view of the criminal act, and its relationship to resistance. As our characters’ story unfolds, the prevailing moral distinction between freedom fighter and felon is blurred, challenging the viewer to consider again the fairness of law itself.
Karam Ali is a filmmaker and visual effects artist currently working at Rise FX in Berlin. He worked as an editor and director’s assistant on various productions in the Middle East such as Doors of Fear (Ahmed Khale, 2011), No Exit (Mohanad Yaqubi, 2014), In The Last Days of the City (Tamer El Said, 2016), Mafak (Bassam Jarbawi, 2018), and In Vitro (Larissa Sansour, 2019). He is currently releasing his first feature film, Chopped.
Casey Asprooth-Jackson is a filmmaker from Rochester, NY. Since 2015 he has been working as a producer with Ramallah-based Idioms Film, and Industry programmer for the Palestine Film Institute since 2018. His recent Production credits include Ibrahim: A Fate to Define (Lina Alabed, 2019), As I Want (Samaher Alqadi, 2021), and Reel 21 AKA Restoring Solidarity (Mohanad Yaqubi, 2022). Chopped is his first feature film
Mohanad Yaqubi is a filmmaker, producer, and one of the founders of the Ramallah-based production house, Idioms Film, he is a resident researcher at (KASK) School of the Arts, Gent, Belgium. Yaqubi’s filmography as a producer includes Infiltrators (Khaled Jarrar, 2013), Suspended Time (Several directors, 2013), Ambulance (Mohammed Jabaly, 2016) Ouroboros (dir. Basma Sharif, 2017), Ibrahim: A Fate to Define (Lina Alabed, 2019), and As I want (Samaher Al-Qadi, 2021).
SørFund (Norway), Fritt Ord (Norway), IMS (Denmark), AFAC (Lebanon), Mid Norwegian Film Center (Norway), Swedish Film Institute (Sweden), Future Logic (Palestine), Palestine Film Institute (Palestine), French Consulate Jerusalem (France)
May 2016 - May 2021, Palestine
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