Born in Jaffa, Maryse Gargour grew up in Lebanon. She graduated from the Institut Français de Presse and completed a PhD in Information Sciences at the University of Paris II. A journalist and producer at the Office de Radio Diffusion-Télévision Française in Beirut, she joined UNESCO’s International Film and Television Council while pursuing a career as a freelance journalist.
Maryse Gargour produced her first documentaries for television on varied topics, normally imposed by the networks. In the 1990s, she filmed her first documentaries, Jaffa la mienne and Loin de Falastinewhich speak of Palestinian memory before the Nakba, investigative work that has been an enduring element of her oeuvre. Through her documentaries, Maryse Gargour returns to her childhood roots and continues to question the history of Palestine at the dawn of the 20th century. In 1997, she produced Jaffa la mienne, a film that follows in the footsteps of the historical families of the city of Jaffa, who owned land and orange trees; families of nobles, scientists, businessmen and merchants who were forced into exile in 1948.
In 2007, the director produced the documentaryLa tierra habla árabe, which earned her international recognition. She won the Mediterranean Memory Award and the ASBU Special Mention in the 2008 edition of the International Mediterranean Documentary Film and Reportage Award (PriMed). This documentary combines historical research, stories, quotes, testimonies and documents from the time, with which the filmmaker makes the viewer empathise with the daily life of the Palestinian people, with all its different nuances. This documentary strives not only to show the existence of a modern and developed society in Palestine before 1948, but also to identify the causes that led to the creation of the state of Israel and the Nakba.
À la rencontre d’un pays perdu (2013) leads the filmmaker to follow in the footsteps of the French community established in Palestine for over a century, swept along by the upheavals of 1948, with stories that were in danger of disappearing, buried as they were under the founding myths of Zionism.
Maryse Gargour’s films are precious tools to deconstruct the history of the Zionist movement and reinterpret the history of Palestine from the subordinate point of view, from the standpoint of the Palestinian population. As a documentary filmmaker, Maryse Gargour’s originality lies in the fact that the filmmaker gives a voice to the Palestinians of the diaspora and those forced into exile in 1948.
Maryse Gargour lives in France.