‘A World Not Ours’ + discussion

Tuesday 25th March

Presented by the film’s makers*, and followed by a discussion with Abbas Shiblak, writer on statelessness.


Mahdi Fleifel’s dazzling, award-winning first-person documentary immerses us in a strange and unique world. In the Palestinian refugee camp of Ain el-Helweh (“Sweet Spring”) in Lebanon  the approaching World Cup championship becomes a means for the residents – stateless and isolated since the camps hasty construction in 1948 – to articulate their own ideas of home, community, victory and hope.

Fleifel spent his formative years in the camp in the 1980s before his family settled in Denmark, and for years he has been returning and keeping a video diary, his conversations with the camp residents offering intimate take on life in Ain el-Helweh and the inhabitants’ grievances. At the heart of the film is Fleifel’s relationship with his friend Abu Eyad. But while Fleifel can visit the camp when he pleases, Abu Eyad must remain — an inequity that makes their friendship both precious and susceptible to tension.

Humourous, touching and revelatory, A World Not Ours brilliantly captures the tumultuous six decades since Ain el-Helweh’s construction through the lens of Fleifel’s own personal journey.     (Toronto International Film Festival)

* Nakba filmworks is director Mahdi Fleifel and producer Patrick Campbell

View trailer here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QDIyM8XTWUo

A review and interview here: http://972mag.com/film-review-the-unending-nakba-three-generations-of-stateless-palestinians-search-for-home/88223/

  • Background facts about Palestinian refugees in Lebanon –

An estimated 300,000 Palestinian refugees live in Lebanon in appalling social and economic conditions. Despite a labour law amendment in 2010 that was supposed to ease access for Palestinians to the official labour market, a survey released by the International Labour Organization in 2012 found that only 2% of Palestinians have obtained work permits, that most earn less than the minimum wage, and that those who do find employment are paid 20% less than their Lebanese counterparts. Lebanese laws and decrees still bar Palestinians from working in at least twenty-five professions requiring syndicate membership, including law, medicine, and engineering, and Palestinians are also still subject to a discriminatory 2001 law that prevents them from registering property.

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