The latest submission for Jordan for International Feature is Farha. Inspired by true events, director Darin Sallam has re-created the events of Al-Nakba from the perspective of a young girl named Farha. The film takes place in Palestine in 1948. Most of the Palestinians in the center and the south of the country have been displaced but for Farha and her father, life, for now, continues the same.
In her small village, Farha spends most of her time reading and studying despite not having a school. Most of the girls in her area have no prospects for education, unless they move to the city, so their only option is to get married at a young age. After much persuasion though, her father has paid the tuition and has agreed for her to go to school next semester. “Educating the young is like engraving in stone.” Her life is about to start.
But the next day, it all changes in an instant. An explosion is heard. Screams are echoing everywhere. And in the distance all that is heard is “have mercy on your women and children and save them from this bloodbath.” Amongst the chaos with people fleeing the village, Farha and her father decide to stay. Farha hides in a cellar in her house and the fight for survival begins.
It is remarkable that this is director Sallam’s feature film debut. She has created a confident, strong, deeply moving film. The way she changes the scenery from bright strong colours to complete darkness is astounding. Karam Taher is phenomenal as the lead actress in the film. Without her, the film wouldn’t have succeeded as the entire film revolves around her, and her face, and her decisions. This film is brave, powerful, nail-biting and most importantly, realistic. Farha has always dreamed about learning geography, and math, and science. She wanted to become a teacher so that one day she could return back to her village and open up a school to give other young girls the opportunity for an education. This was her dream, her path, her future. Because of unnecessary and cruel cruel acts of war, dreams are shattered. Lives are changed. Lives are lost. And for what? What does one do after a catastrophe? For Farha, it's a new path she must now face, alone.