17th November - Mahdi Fleifel Shorts + Q&A
4:00PM - curzon soho, shaftesbury avenue, w1d 5dy
Xenos (dir. Mahdi Fleifel, 13 mins)
In 2010, Abu Eyad and other young Palestinian men from the Ain el-Helweh refugee camp in Lebanon travelled with smugglers through Syria and Turkey into Greece. Like so many other migrants, they came looking for a way into Europe but found themselves trapped in a country undergoing economic, political, and social collapse. Xenos is a short documentary blending footage shot on visits to Athens in 2011 with phone conversations recorded during Abu Eyad's time there. It tells of his day-to-day struggle for survival and enduring sense of exile in a land of hope that has become a nightmare.
A Man Returned (dir. Mahdi Fleifel, 30 mins)
Reda returns to the Palestinian refugee camp of Ain El-Helweh, his plans to escape having ended in failure after three years trapped in Greece. With a heroin addiction, he must face life in a camp being torn apart by internal strife and the encroachment of war from Syria. Against all odds he decides to marry his childhood sweetheart; a love story, bittersweet as the camp itself.
A Drowning Man (dir. Mahdi Fleifel, 15 mins)
Alone and far from home, The Kid makes his way through a strange city looking for the means to get through his day. Surrounded by predators he is forced to make compromises merely to survive, and his life of exile grows one day longer.
I Signed The Petition (dir. Mahdi Fleifel, 10 mins)
Immediately after a Palestinian man signs an online petition, he is thrown into a panic-inducing spiral of self-doubt. Over the course of a conversation with an understanding friend, he analyses, deconstructs and interprets the meaning of his choice to publicly support the cultural boycott of Israel.
20 Handshakes For Peace (dir. Mahdi Fleifel, 3 mins)
“I remember the handshake very clearly. My dad recorded the ceremony on video and would play it over and over again. He could not believe what had happened. In fact, none of us could. One time he threw his shoe at the TV and shouted so loud, the next door neighbors complained about him.” Listening to the last interview with Edward Said while watching the ceremony made me realize that father’s anger was because chairman Arafat was the first one to reach out his hand.
This screening will be followed by a Q&A with director Mahdi Fleifel, moderated by film critic Kaleem Aftab.