A World Not Ours
A World Not OursOriginal Title: A'lamun Laysa Lana
Director: Mahdi Fleifel
Lebanon, United Kingdom, United Arab Emirates | Arabic, English
| Colour and B&W
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