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DDocumentary Competition

A World Not Ours

A World Not Ours

Original Title: A'lamun Laysa Lana
Director: Mahdi Fleifel
Lebanon, United Kingdom, United Arab Emirates | Arabic, English
2012 | 93min. | Colour and B&W
Subtitles: English
Format: DCP
12+
One of this year’s most outstanding documentaries from the Arab World, A World Not Ours offers a uniquely intimate look at life in Palestinian refugee camps. In this remarkable example of first-person filmmaking, Mahdi Fleifel returns to Ain El-Helweh in Lebanon, where he spent his early childhood, to shine a spotlight on the heroes and anti-heroes of this claustrophobic microcosm that houses 70,000 refugees within an area of roughly one square kilometre, inviting them to tell their stories of home, family, and friendship.

Boasting unprecedented access to the camp, as well as an incredible wealth of family archives, A World Not Ours showcases more than 20 years of film footage by different generations of the Fleifel family. One of the most intriguing people in the film is Abu Eyad, Fleifel’s childhood friend and a longtime Fatah member. Disillusioned by unfulfilled promises and disgusted by political lies, Abu Eyad cannot wait to leave the camp, to which he feels no belonging; this desire to leave, however, is tempered by the fact that for him, the world beyond is uncharted territory: a harrowing reality faced by all Palestinians in exile.

A World Not Ours is a disorienting tour de force that catches the viewer off guard with its unconventional soundtrack, featuring artists like Roy Eldridge, Benny Goodman and The Ink Spots, as well as Fleifel’s humorous first-person narration. In this feature debut, Fleifel masterfully captures the predicament faced by Palestinian refugees while challenging us to rethink our ideas about what constitutes belonging to a place.

– Özge Calafato

Director,  Mahdi Fleifel

Director,  Mahdi Fleifel

Mahdi Fleifel studied film at the University of Wales. His first short, Shadi in the Beautiful Well, set in the Palestinian refugee camp where he spent his childhood, won numerous international prizes. He graduated from the National Film School in 2009.

Cast and Crew

Director
Mahdi Fleifel
Production Company
Nakba FilmWorks
Music
Jon Opstad
Producer
Mahdi Fleifel, Patrick Campbell
Screenwriter
Mahdi Fleifel
Editor
Michael Aaglund
Cinematographer
Mahdi Fleifel
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