Farha, a heartbreaking coming-of-age story of a 14-year-old girl, is sure to make your heart weep for the atrocities faced by the Palestinians in 1948.
The movie shares a glimpse into the lives of Palestinians of that time. It starts by showing some girls playing by a waterfall.
This depicts how peaceful and free of worry their lives were. Throughout the movie, we see the story of the main character Farha, a happy young girl aiming to go to the city to study. We know how these events change her life forever.
The film shows that Farha does not wish to be bound by the societal norms of that time and refuses to get married off to her cousin ‘Nasser.’ Her father, better known as Abu Farha, supports her.
With the push of a relatively modern relative, he gets her a form to fill out for entrance to a school.
Her best friend Fareeda and she are seen sitting on swings and daydreaming about the life they would have going to school together and just living like ordinary teenage girls.
However, their dreams are cut short when they both get alarmed by the sounds of bomb blasts. Here the story takes a turn. Throughout the whole incident of fleeing the explosion, we see Farha susceptible to the events’ seriousness.
She gets out of the car in which Fareeda’s family was fleeing away, so she can be with her father. Farha’s father urged her to leave since he knew the gravity of the events taking place.
On the other hand, Farha did not think so far out and thought everything would fall into place. We see this glimmer of hope present in her since she finds the form for the school admission and keeps it safe with her.
Not only does this show her willingness to study, but she also thought that in the end, she would get a chance to use the form and enroll in the school.
Most of the movie revolves around a small storage room where Abu Farha locks his daughter so she can be safe and promises that he will return for her.
Farha is there for an immeasurable amount of time. She has nothing to eat and only a tiny hole through which she can peek outside. The small area led some sunlight to pass into the storeroom, and she could see what was happening outside.
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Through the small hole, Farha witnessed the brutal massacre of a family and their two children while their newborn was spared but left on the floor crying.
Farha tries to get out of the storeroom by using force but fails. Eventually, she finds some pistols and uses them to shoot at the door. The bullets from the guns manage to get the door open.
At this moment, we can see that although Farha gets out, she does not deem herself free. She is not ‘free‘ since her country is not free anymore.
As the movie comes to an end, we see Farha change drastically. A girl who was once so full of aspirations transformed into one who sees no light in the world anymore. The one locked in the storeroom wasn’t the same when she got out.
The movie portrays the events of Nakba (Palestinian Catastrophe) only through the lens of one person. It makes the viewers ponder how large the scale of events was if we consider every person affected.
‘Farha, ‘ Netflix’s hit, is based on the true story of a girl named Radiyyeh. It is assumed that Radiyyeh’s father passed away in the following events since she never got to see him again. After getting out of the storeroom, Raddiyeh managed to escape to Syria.
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In Syria, she made friends with the director’s (Darin J. Sallam) mother. Sallam was inspired by Radiyyeh’s story and felt it deserved to be told to the world.
Thus, she decided to turn her life events into a movie. Salim hopes to shed life on the difficulties faced by the Palestinians in 1948.
‘Farha’ bagged multiple awards, including Asia Pacific Screen Award and Malmo Arab Film Festival Jury Award, and got nominated for the Dragon Award, amongst many others. This movie must be recognized internationally.
It is the voice of the People of Palestine, who have not been heard in all these years. One must comprehend that the situation in Palestine right now is no different than what is depicted in the movie.
The catastrophic events have gotten no better. Many ‘Farha’ flee from Palestine every day with shattered dreams and no certainty of the future.