Now Streaming: The Apollo of Gaza Is a Treasure Hunt for Hidden History


By Pat Mullen

Embark on a treasure hunt with The Apollo of Gaza. The film, which premieres today for free streaming at NFB.ca, is an “archaeological thriller” that traverses Gaza and Jerusalem in search of a 2500-year-old statue that was lost, found, and then lost again. Director Nicolas Wadimoff excavates the history of the lost Apollo statue and the collective histories that are buried by implication through the artifact’s disappearance. The film’s fifteen year journey with the story observes as the tale of the Apollo of Gaza spins into a kind of folklore as people from across the land speculate about its existence.

While reviewing The Apollo of Gaza upon its premiere at RIDM, Maurie Alioff likened it to a hopeful relative of Orson Welles’s F for Fake with consideration of obscured truths and fractured stories. “Naturally, big monetary offers poured in from various countries, including Canada. The Apollo of Gaza became a kind of Maltese Falcon, the ‘stuff that dreams are made of,’ as the movie puts it. Apollo could transform a poor fisherman’s man’s life forever,” wrote Maurie Alioff. “The doc explores legends and myths among people who feel plagued by oppression. Whether the Apollo statue is real, or a hoax, or being held captive in Gaza, or boxed up in a warehouse somewhere in France, it’s a powerful symbol of pride and aspirations, of hope.”

Synopsis: In 2013, an ancient statue of Apollo was found in the waters off Gaza—before disappearing under mysterious circumstances. Is it the work of forgers, or a gift from the gods to a Palestinian people desperately in need of hope? Soon the rumours start to swirl, while behind the scenes local and international players start jostling—some driven by historical preservation and others by purely commercial interests. Filmed in Gaza and Jerusalem, The Apollo of Gaza plays out like a mystery built around a national treasure that is the stuff of dreams.

Watch The Apollo of Gaza below from the NFB.

The Apollo of Gaza, Nicolas Wadimoff, provided by the National Film Board of Canada

Presented in partnership with the NFB.