OURS IS A COUNTRY OF WORDS
|Sunday 1 January 2017 - 11:05 PM 196 Films, Documentary|
A documentary about a hypothetical situation, the story begins in an undetermined moment in the future when the Palestinian right of return becomes a reality. Balancing between fiction and documentary, dream and reality we watch as families in the Shatila refugee camp prepare for their fictional return. What would they pack, who will they miss? Through the words they convey about the dream of returning, we have a deeper understanding of what it means to live in exile. This film, a fiction performed by non-actors, shows the inverse of a reality. In watching the dream unfold, we see a reality that can only be conveyed through the imagination.
“This film tells a story that started in 1948, when thousands of Palestinians fled their country, in fear of the ongoing massacres. We will pick the story up years later, in an imaginary future. A future in which Palestine is free again.” Thus opens the film by Mathijs Poppe, who, by creating the fiction of a possible return with the inhabitants of the Shatila camp, implicitly writes a history of Palestine and the Palestinians. Over the narrow streets, in the confined apartments into which entire families are crammed, the tight frames and the image in chiaroscuro reveal a life of waiting, suspended. Redoing passports, selling the washing machine to buy a car, contacting the Israeli setlers who are occupying the house to warn them of their return: everyone busies themselves preparing the voyage to the home or dreamed land. Those who have never seen it make an imaginary tableau of it, describing the beauty of an ideal landscape that makes the reality of the camp crueller with each sentence. For, this country of words, even inaccessible, is the cradle of an identity forged in exile, alive despite and against everything.