The narrative of a Palestinian youngster named Farha, whose town is attacked by Israeli soldiers, is told in the Arabic-language movie. Her father conceals her, and she sees the execution of a Palestinian family, including two girls, through a door’s gap.
Sallam, 35, said that a tale her mother had told her about a Palestinian woman by the name of Radiyeh served as the basis for the scenario of her first feature-length film. According to Sallam, the movie tells “the narrative of a girl who had to give up her goals due to circumstances she had no control over.”
Farha was shown at the Toronto International Film Festival in 2021 and has garnered a dozen accolades at other events. Officials in Israel, where talking about alleged crimes from the 1948 war is still mostly forbidden, criticised Netflix for their choice to show the movie.
The towns of Ajlun and Al-Fuhais in northern Jordan were used for filming because they resemble the Palestinian hamlet where Farha’s narrative opens. The adolescent girl prepares for a friend’s wedding, gathers figs before her hamlet is invaded, and attempts to talk her father into letting her finish her schooling in the city.
Sallam said that aside from the murder of the unarmed family, she refrained from using violence. She claimed that the incident, which shocked the Israeli leadership, was but a small portion of the millions of Palestinians who suffered during the Nakba. Sallam urged other filmmakers to examine this difficult period in Palestinian history, which “almost never appears in cinema.”
Her mother, of Syrian origin, had heard Radiyeh’s story at a refugee camp in that country and passed it on to her, “and I decided to make a film and share it”. “Radiyeh had been locked up by her father who feared for her, and when she was finally able to come out of hiding she went to Syria,” Sallam said. “That’s where she told the story to my mother.”
Israeli filmmaker Alon Schwarz encountered criticism last year for his film on a purported 1948 murder of Palestinians in Tantura, a Mediterranean town northwest of what is now Israel. Greater transparency on the actions of the Israeli troops during the 1948 conflict has been demanded more frequently in recent years, especially by Israeli activists.