(movietrainer) Farha: a first work that is a tribute to the value of life
Presented in the Official Selection of the 16th edition of the Rome Film Fest , Farha by Darin J. Sallam tells the story of the young Palestinian ( Karam Taher ) who gives the title to the film. Forced to take refuge in a food pantry made from a cave, Farha dreamed of studying in the city. The arrival of guerrillas separates her from her best friend, Farida ( Tala Gammoh ), and her father ( Ashraf Barhom), leaving it alone, in the dark, with a small crack from which to observe the outside. Over the days, which will become weeks and then months, he becomes a witness of the tragedy that is taking place, of humanity that completely loses its connotations, of the desperation that reigns. The plot is inspired by real events : we are in the mid-twentieth century, in a small Palestinian village, at the end of the British invasion.
Sallam's film is a first feature with a very powerful intensity and character . Throughout Farha's confinement, the viewer experiences with her a state of shocking anguish, claustrophobia and loneliness. The protagonist's eyes are the only source of information , but hers is a partial vision. It is the noises, voices and sounds around that make up its reality, and they are often the worst. The cry of a child abandoned to die of hardship, gunshots, women screaming, begging and praying.
And it is precisely, perhaps, only prayer that allows Farha not to go mad . Believing in someone or something watching over her, hoping to review her affections, gives her a reason to move on. The physical change obviously accompanies the psychological one, weakness is also and above all perceived in hallucinations, which occasionally appear in the girl's mind.
What is most disturbing is the awareness that the fate of Farha affects millions of people around the world. The tragedy of the situation emerges in a preponderant way , precisely because in the beginning we saw two teenagers exchanging opinions, advice, secrets. The dream of an education that for some is a utopia - as for Farha - is shattered by the inhumanity of war. There are, and never can be, winners and losers, but only victims.
Sallam writes and directs a film that is also an indictment , an important document that deserves to be handed down and valued, a hymn to the value of life. Farha has the natural ability to excite and make people reflect, entering the heart (and eyes) of her audience. Hard, dry, necessary, unsurprisingly, it was chosen among the titles in competition at the Toronto International Film Festival . And it turns out to be one of the best proposals of the Capitoline kermesse, which at times really knows how to find jewels from foreign cinemas.
The acting performances are incredibly deserving, first of all those of the almost rookie Taher and of Barhom (already appreciated in the Tyrant series ).