Too few people know what happened in Palestine in 1948. The Nakba, Arabic for ‘catastrophe,’ was just the beginning of the murder, discrimination, and forced displacement of Palestinian people.
“Farha," the feature directorial debut by Jordan native Darin Sallam, tells just one of these harrowing stories.
The film follows a 14-year-old girl living in rural Palestine as she fights for the opportunity to receive an education in the city. However, her hopes are thwarted when the bombs start dropping. The moments before their village is attacked are honest, compelling, and beautiful, but I knew it couldn’t last.
As a Palestinian-American and the grandchild of two individuals born in the year of the Nakba, I have done my own research on my history. So, as I began this film, I anticipated a great deal of emotion would overtake me—and it did.
I related to Farha in her stubbornness and determination and felt for her as she pushed her father to send her to school; I was moved by the imagery of the landscapes and architecture; and I was brought to tears hearing my own family’s native dialect spoken in a film.
Despite everything I knew, “Farha" kept me on the edge of my seat and my emotions running high. Practically functioning as a thriller, “Farha" did an excellent job of putting you in the character’s shoes, being with her in every moment as she bears witness to atrocities.
The score of this film was phenomenal and made a humbling show of how loud gunshots ring through the countryside.
While I would not recommend this film to the faint of heart, I won’t let you off the hook too easily. “Farha" is a film based on a real story, and there are too many more just like it. It is monumental that individual stories of the Nakba are becoming more widely known and accessible, but this is only the start to a fight that began in 1948.
“Farha" may be a sad story, and there may be countless others out there just like hers, but I think that these sad stories are our guiding light to a hopeful future. Watching this film reminded me of who I am and where I come from and instilled a renewed sense of purpose to keep fighting.
I would rate “Farha" a 9 out of 10.