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Original Issue

West Bank Drift


The five women of the documentary Speed Sisters, a chronicle of the first women's auto racing team in the Arab world, blaze onto the screen to the sound of screeching tires as they compete against men in Palestine's thriving street-racing scene and against each other. The kinetic documentary, full of donuts, drifts and burning rubber, also provides a glimpse into the life of an independent woman in a religious society and into the daily realities of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. In between nail appointments, grandparents' beseeching them to wear their veils, military checkpoints and even being shot at with rubber bullets, the women race in souped-up cars on improvised autocross tracks in the West Bank with a determination to be true to themselves. Asks racer Marah Zahalka, "What are we supposed to do, stop living?"