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A World Not Ours (2012)

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An intimate, and often humorous, portrait of three generations of exile in the refugee camp of Ein el-Helweh, in southern Lebanon. Based on a wealth of personal recordings, family archives,... See full summary »



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Director: Mahdi Fleifel


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An intimate, and often humorous, portrait of three generations of exile in the refugee camp of Ein el-Helweh, in southern Lebanon. Based on a wealth of personal recordings, family archives, and historical footage, the film is a sensitive, and illuminating study of belonging, friendship, and family in the lives of those for whom dispossession is the norm, and yearning their daily lives. Written by Anonymous

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Release Date:

21 February 2014 (UK)  »

Also Known As:

Alam laysa lana  »

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Documentary of generations in Ein El Helweh, Lebanon.
15 May 2013 | by See all my reviews

Talented director. He is clearly ambient with the people, evident from their ease with his filming them, receiving him (his lens) with open and kind willingness. The characters themselves are strikingly charismatic. The interception of political historical events is very balanced, and almost embedded in the storyline, as if without notice. Subjects of discussion come in conversation instead of interview, which feel so pertaining, genuine, reflective and timely. It is neither romantic nor melodramatic, also not propagandist nor neutral, perhaps a most real form of documentary. There's almost an absence of mise-en-scène, though the sets are highly cinematic and effective. The open confidence in the storytelling had me weary for privacy, especially the earlier footage had it not been intended for a film, I felt it intrusive to find its way to the public screen. The documentary made me reflect more on the production, the personalities, than the actual Palestinian tragedy. Beyond and above the misery, was a reality that somehow could be seen as universal. A universal meaning: a man is and remains what he is, irrespective of where he is. Ayn El Helwe, Danmark, Athens, change the setting, the man is very much himself, like a condition overriding context. Another very marking element in the film is the distinct presence of humor and kindness in a life devoid of elements for humor. Also symbolic is that the thinking of a man is what makes him. The man who appears to survive his generation with his unshaken foundational faith - in return, for example. Another who appears to maintain an unfaltering cool has his plan - to leave. Mahdi Fleifel excelled at narration and editing footage, and engaging key characters to relate his story and history.

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