The vision of a Palestinian child and the narrative of the Nakba in the film “Farha”. opinions

A Palestinian girl, Farha, broke a clay slab to take a piece from it that could pass through a niche in the wall to collect raindrops falling outside. Thirst overcame her while she was locked in a room in the village during the Nakba events of 1948, after her father hid her for fear of injury. She waited for her father day after day, but he did not come, and whenever she anxiously listened to what was happening outside, she was shocked by the scale of terror, destruction and killing that followed the movements of the Zionist gangs and the British soldiers who were ravaging the land of the country, and they were just around the corner to enter her hideout in the Palestinian film “Joy”, currently showing on the network “Netflix”, directed by Darren Salam and produced in 2021, which caused a political uproar that has not subsided until now.

The film belongs to the type of films called single-location films, which are films that take place in a certain spatial area. As the camera does not move between the location and many places, here too the burden is on the actor to show his talent in acting and embodying the story, and the place and location are often direct participants in the film as part of the film. from the story. In the film “Farha”, the second hero, after the girl Farha, was a traditional Palestinian house. It is brave that the director of the film voluntarily renounces all the details of the historical Nakba scenes full of movement and excitement, in order to limit the story to a Palestinian house without a partner. And in this peaceful domestic space, everything happens; Life, children’s play, visits from family and friends, demands for resistance and finally scenes of killing and destruction that disturbed the beautiful melody of life like a cacophony.

The director managed to use all the elements of the traditional Palestinian house in order to present the general story, that is, her own general and philosophical directorial vision in the film. There is not a single frame without a message, symbolism and hidden stories; This is because the film is so simple and so complex and symbolic at the same time. It is enough to know, for example, that almost half of the duration of the film is without dialogue, and here the camera speaks a visual language of great beauty and expression, and many scenes and symbols can be interpreted with dozens of meanings.

It will not be an exaggeration to say that the Palestinian film Farha follows the path of Ghassan Kanafani’s illustrated story “The Little Lamp”, which he drew and wrote to tell the story of Palestinian pain for his spoiled little girl Lamis, his niece.

For a young girl to watch the events of killing and displacement from her small room through small cracks in the door or a small niche in the wall is similar to the case of most Arabs who watched and still watch the violations that took place in Palestine with their hands tied to support. If you like, you can think of the little girl as the embodiment of the besieged Gaza, which is condemned to be closed in such a way that the necessities of life are denied to her, and she observes the world around her and cannot get out.

It was also remarkable to see the narrative of the Nakba through the eyes of a Palestinian child who knows nothing of her world except the space of home and village and the dream of city life and travels there to learn, although I imagine the story of the girl’s passion for education is somewhat woven into the storytelling; To send a counter-message to the Zionist propaganda before and after the Nakba, because she saw in Palestine only a barren land inhabited by some Bedouins, and the European Zionists brought civilization to it, regardless of the modern civil life, which was comparable and perhaps better than many Arab cities and capitals in that time. Perhaps it was also a symbolic message about the place of education in a Palestinian’s life, and how, after the Nakba, it became his weapon at home and in the diaspora to face the hardships and bitterness of alienation. And I imagine that if the girl’s dream was connected to something else within the domestic spatial environment, it would be more conducive to the narrative consistency of the story.

Palestinian children’s films

We will not exaggerate if we say that the Palestinian film “Farha” follows the path of Ghassan Kanafani’s illustrated story “The Little Lamp”, which he drew and wrote to tell the story of Palestinian pain for his spoiled little girl Lamis, his niece. Here we find that “Farha” as a work of art is comparable to a literary work in the aesthetics of presentation without plunging into reality and its complexity that escapes children’s understanding and perception, and the difference is that the film “Farha” is in children’s language, while the book ” Lamp” was a message to the children. I wish the violent scenes in “Farah” were toned down a bit to make it accessible to children, as its current classification is for over 15 years old.

The production of films related to Palestine and children at the level of documentaries, dramas or even animation revolves around following and monitoring the child as one of the aspects of suffering or education and guidance to convey the meanings of the problem for children, but there are not enough films that explore the Palestinian children’s own narrative about what is happening around them, either before or after the Nakba.

A child’s general perception of what is happening around him is not necessarily superficial and flawed, because it is often deep and expressive, and we studied in the direction that the creator must possess the child’s eye and his psyche as it looks. , for example, at the angles of a photo to capture tiny shots, or when looking closely at a fringe story to tell a larger issue.

Here we are talking about two types of messages for two types of children. Letters that represent the narration of what is happening from the child’s perspective and letters that carry the child’s view and assessment of what is happening around him. The first type of children are mostly Palestinian children who face endless details of suffering on various levels every day, and we have not heard their vision or narrative of what is happening, whatever opinion they have about what they are saying, as we saw in the movie “Joy”. away from any dictates or abbreviations. The other kind are the children of the Arabs and the world who do not live that reality, but see it through the media and have feelings for it, but we have not been given enough artistic expressions of those feelings.

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