Kingdom of Women
el-Hilweh, the largest Palestinian refugee camp in south Lebanon, Palestinian women have a kingdom
all to themselves, established amidst the bleakest of circumstances through the
sheer force of their will. In 1982, the Israeli army that was occupying part of
south Lebanon rolled northward, eventually reaching the city
of Sidon. People scattered for safety, but
the city and nearby Ein el-Hilweh were subdued. Three days later, all the
Palestinian men were rounded up and detained. The women were left with nothing
but the rubble of their homes, their dependents and the anguish that
With an uncanny serenity – and a good deal of humour – these women tell the story of how they took charge of their destiny. This is a story of pride and triumph: the women rebuilt their homes themselves, refusing to obey the Israeli army’s orders. They laugh into the camera as they recollect making a kingdom for themselves.
A delightful surprise in the film is the director’s collaboration with artist Lena Merhej, whose animated illustrations fill the gaps in archives and collective memory, allowing the film to soar poetically. Reviving a lapsed memory is a feat unto itself, but an even greater accomplishment is a film about Palestine that tells a story of triumph. Ground to build on.
Language: Arab with English and Slovene subtitles.
Organisation: City of Women; In collaboration with: Slovenska Kinoteka.