Local Release

( Farha’s review, by Darin J. Sallam

More and more, at a time when Saudi Arabia chooses to focus on a policy of openness to international productions and the whole world is looking to the actors of this region. One among many, theAshraf Barhoum that we have seen in Farha, a film that also went to the Rome Film Fest, written and directed by the newcomer Darin J. Sallam.

The Arab-Israeli actor of Paradise Now, Agora, Clash of the Titans And 300 – Rise of an Empire is at the Jeddah festival with two films (the second the The Stranger by Ameer Fakher Eldin), but above all it will soon be in Exodus, the story of the epic of some refugees directed by Abbe Hassan. Unfortunately not in the much announced The Alchimist, adaptation of the novel by Paulo Coelho produced by Will Smith and entrusted to Kevin Scott Frakes (former manufacturer of Hereditary, John Wick, November Man And Glass).

Meanwhile, in Farha, we see him in the role of the father of the protagonist, one young Palestinian torn between the prospect of a different life and that of an arranged marriage that would force her to stay in her native village. Except that we are in 1948 and after the Second World War everything is about to change in this geographic area, and in the world.

The one told by the 34-year-old Jordanian director is a true story (then the girl protagonist managed to repair in Syria) which – as she says – “He traveled for years to reach me”, and that she said to herself “Proud and happy” to be able to present to the Saudi public. Along with her cast and female lead, the young and interesting Kaaram Taher, not flawless rookie, but definitely able to stay within the limits and offer an interpretation consistent with the tone sought.

Which is the only constant around which the long-limited action develops in the space of a dark cellar in which Farha takes refuge. And which refers to many more mainstream or genre titles that have made a stylistic signature and strong point precisely in this type of setting. But it is only one of the genres of a film that mixes many, managing to alternate lightness, folklore, drama and history without too many smudges. And to offer the director the opportunity to face her own – declared – claustrophobia, fear that has allowed her to create an even more credible character, like the growing emotional that puts on stage.

And which brings the story of the Nakba following the declaration of independence of israel and the tragic exodus of the Palestinian people. A story with many meanings, which explores the brutality of war and human baseness, able to go beyond the complaint to acquire a personal and universal value at the same time. An excellent debut for the two young women, who have certainly won the attention of a stage that has never been so large.


We are in Palestine, in 1948. Farha is 14, the age at which most of the girls in her village are married or engaged, but she is determined to persuade her father to let her go to the school in the neighboring town with Farida, her best friend. , to be able to study. Just when it seems that he is convinced, the village suffers an attack from the invaders with whom a truce had been reached and her father is forced to escape, locking her up for safety in the family cellar with the promise to return to save her. Through a small hole in the wall, Farha sees the village she was happy to leave turned to rubble, helplessly witnessing the destruction of her country and the forced exodus of its people, barbarously killed or betrayed by their neighbors.

Farha, Darin J. Sallam

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