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Idioms Film: Journey of a Sofa in a Refugee Camp in Lebanon

The Arab world has seen a boost in film production and creativity. Many production industries are rising up, and a great amount of films have been popping up. Short, metaphoric films have been finding their way to the Arab Screen. With the purpose of developing “the cinematic capacity of independent film production, by improving accessibility to production facilities, international film markets, and financing,” Idioms Film was established in 2004 in the city of Ramallah, Palestine.

Last February, Idioms Film started the project called #FebFilms, in which they uploaded a variety of Palestinian-based videos on their website and Vimeo page every Monday of that month. The first film they have uploaded is by Alaa Al Ali, a Palestinian refugee in Burj Al-Barajnah Camp of Lebanon, called ‘Journey of a Sofa’, produced 2 years ago.

Journey of a Sofa, screened last year at Riwaq Biennale’s event Cinema Sayyara: “To transport a newly purchased sofa to your home is an easy task. In a Palestinian refugee camp in Lebanon, this task becomes a Sisyphean journey revealing the complexities and absurdities of everyday life in the Shatila camp in Lebanon.”

Although somewhat comedic, the 8-minute long video production aims at portraying the difficulties of living in a Palestinian refugee camp in Lebanon. The film opens up with the first part of the sofa’s journey, as they arrive at the camp. An interesting thing to take note of is the mixture of the Palestinian and Lebanese accents. Talk about nooks and crannies!

The two young men in the video carry the sofa on their backs throughout the camp, trying to figure out how to get the sofa through the complicated maze-work of the camp and up to the house. After all their work is done, it turns out that they have gotten the wrong sofa!

A moving portrayal of struggle, the film shows us that the best way to handle similar struggles is to do so with a spice of comedy.

For more Palestinian films that show great film-making talent, take a stroll through Idioms Film and check them out!

Don’t forget to smile 🙂 !

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Israa Elkhatib

I was born in Palestine but raised with the fireflies in Georgia. My teenage years were spent being the Muslim nerd who was known as the bookworm of the school. That followed me back to Palestine, to develop into being the girl with the big vocabulary. I spent most of my high-school days cursing Newton for not eating that apple. My English Literature Bachelor's degree was only obtained because I'm a nerd for literature and my minor in Translation pretty much pays the bills, thank you Birzeit University.Creative writing is my passion and reading is my escape from reality into a world where everything is the way you imagine it to be.

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