Little Palestine, Diary of a siege

by Abdallah Al-Khatib

Lebanon, France, Qatar
2021
89 min
OV Arabic - French Subtitles
Feature film
Documentary
Color
DCP

Content warning: scenes, words or images may offend the spectators' sensitivity

Out of Competition 2021

Official synopsis

From 1957 to 2018, the district of Yarmouk (Damascus, Syria) housed the world’s largest Palestinian refugee camp. When the Syrian revolution broke out, the regime of Bashar Al-Assad saw Yarmouk as a refuge for rebels and a nucleus of resistance, and set up a siege in 2013. Between 2011 and 2015, Abdallah Al-Khatib documented with his friends the daily life of the inhabitants, who have decided to face the bombardments, forced displacement and famine by resorting to collective enthusiasm, education, music, love and joy.

The programmer’s eye

The vital source of “Little Palestine” rests on its scansion, originally found in Abdallah Al-Katib’s text, “40 Rules of the Siege”. It accounts for the degradation of a city-organism, abandoned and besieged as if left to rot, through a hybrid form between filmed diary and war poetry. Literally cut off from all communication networks, Yarmouk is only seen internally through camcorder images, a reminiscence of the determining dimension of filmed conflicts in contemporary history, and an essential counterpoint to digital imagery that overwhelmingly documents current conflicts.

— Pierre Guidez

Biography and Filmography

Abdallah Al-Khatib was born in 1989 in Yarmouk. He studied sociology at the University of Damas. Before the revolution, he worked for the UN as a coordinator of activities and volunteers, as well as the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East as the head of the Youth Support Center. With several friends, he created the humanitarian aid association Wataad which carried out dozens of projects in several regions of Syria, and in particular in Yarmouk. Abdallah participated in several documentary films focusing on camp life in various roles. He was part of “194. Us Children of the Camp” which premiered at Visions du Réel in 2017. He also organized video workshops during the siege. The German magazine Peace Green identified him as one of the “peacemakers” 2014. He received the Per Anger Human Rights Award in Sweden in 2016. Abdallah currently lives in Germany, where he recently obtained political refugee status.

2021 - LITTLE PALESTINE, DIARY OF A SIEGE - Abdallah Al-Khatib - Director, Screenwriter

Abdallah Al-Khatib

Bidayyat for Audiovisual Arts, Films de Force Majeure

Dulac Distribution

Lightbox

de Abdallah Al-Khatib

Abdallah Al-Khatib was born in 1989 in Yarmouk. He studied sociology at the University of Damas. Before the revolution, he worked for the UN as a coordinator of activities and volunteers, as well as the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East as the head of the Youth Support Center. With several friends, he created the humanitarian aid association Wataad which carried out dozens of projects in several regions of Syria, and in particular in Yarmouk. Abdallah participated in several documentary films focusing on camp life in various roles. He was part of “194. Us Children of the Camp” which premiered at Visions du Réel in 2017. He also organized video workshops during the siege. The German magazine Peace Green identified him as one of the “peacemakers” 2014. He received the Per Anger Human Rights Award in Sweden in 2016. Abdallah currently lives in Germany, where he recently obtained political refugee status.

2021 - LITTLE PALESTINE, DIARY OF A SIEGE - Abdallah Al-Khatib - Director, Screenwriter