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Ibrahim: a Fate to Define

filmmaker : Lina Al Abed
Composer : Khaled Yassine
Slovenia, Qatar, Denmark, Palestine, Lebanon, 2019
Production : Idioms Film, SAK A DO, Rami El Nihawi

French, Arabic
French, English


Ibrahim, my father, left the house in 1987 and never returned. I was 6 years old. He was a secret agent with the Abu Nidal Organization, the militant Palestinian faction that opposed the PLO’s attempts to adopt more peaceful solutions to the conflict with Israel. Not knowing what had become of Ibrahim, I grew up in a house in which silence reigned. My mother had to carry on as normal, bringing up five children. In this very personal investigative documentary, the author offers a portrait of a man who’s disappeared via the places he’d been to, the faces he’d known and the thinking that shaped his world…

Tënk's film review

“When did you stop waiting?” Sitting on a sofa, a girl questions her mother as she folds the laundry, cooks and knits. Inside houses and apartments, from Damascus to Berlin via Cairo and Beirut, Lina Al Abed questions her brother, sister and uncles as they go about their everyday business. It’s not only the geography and history of the Middle East that she stubbornly explores, but also that of a family – her family…a labyrinth, reminiscent of the labyrinthine Palestinian camp in Syria where she grew up. Like the scarf knitted from encounter to encounter, the film constantly interweaves the links between this personal territory and a little-known slice of the history of the Palestinian liberation movement. The mystery surrounding her disappeared father reveals deep wounds that have yet to heal, but above all shows the need for memory – “he who loses his memories no longer knows if he is alive or dead”.

Éva Tourrent
Tënk's Artistic Director

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Lina Al Abed

Lina Al Abed is a Palestinian Filmmaker born in 1980, and graduate from the Faculty of journalism - Damascus University. Her graduation project was a documentary about a Syrian author, Mohamed Al-Maghout, broadcasted on Al-jazeera channel in 2007. Her first short documentary "Noor Alhuda" was produced by Al-Arabiya channel and awarded the DOX-BOX jury prize as the best Syrian documentary film in 2010. She produced and directed her feature documentary film "Damascus, My First Kiss", which premiered in DokLeipzig, and was broadcasted on Arte in 2013. "A Dream of Powerful Monsters", her second short film was awarded the best documentary film at the Arab Short Festival in Beirut 2014.

Other films in the collection: Cream of the screens