'I can't even remember how to pray.' This is one effect of spending 50 years in a Palestinian refugee camp. Five million (70 per cent of the population) live in the diaspora, many in the 59 crowded camps of the region, where they face life-long unemployment, discrimination and hunger. There are no soldiers in frame, no demolished houses, but the sense of lingering violence is pandemic. Spending time in several Beirut settlements, including the Bourj Il Barajneh camp, the film, free of score and voice-over, simply listens to the exiles, to their views of the intifada, to their desire to leave (the long alleyways like a labyrinth without release). Recording the telling everyday details, the documentary is an essential act of witness to lives in a limbo of loss and anger without redress. Think of the elderly man, his soul quietly rent, who has lost five sons and his wife, axed to pieces at a Phalangist roadblock and bagged into the sea. 'A homeland without sacrifice is impossible,' he says, and dreams of pastoral return. But when?
Maysoon Pachachi, Noura Sakkaf
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