Director Mahdi Fleifel presents a refreshing and affectionate personal study of the friendships, laughter, hope and despair that comprise daily life in the Palestinian refugee camp where he grew up.
Ain el-Helweh is Lebanon’s largest refugee camp, home to over 70,000 displaced Palestinians. In this personal study director Mahdi Fleifel combines his own footage with that of his father’s from the 80s and 90s, to present an intimate portrait of the place where he was born.
After his family emigrated to Denmark Fleifel would return annually to the camp to visit family and friends who had stayed behind. In emulation of these summer trips the director returns to visit as an adult, challenging his teenage belief that ‘going to Ain el-Helweh is better than going to Disney Land’. As when he was young, Fleifel is enamoured by the spirit of passion, volatility and camaraderie in the camp, yet he is forced to realise the harsher realities of entrapment and desperation his childhood friends face.
A bittersweet cinematic essay, A World Not Ours is a refreshing look at the friendships, laughter, hope and despair that comprise daily life for those living in exile in Lebanon’s refugee camps.