The Shebabs of Yarmouk
by Axel Salvatori-Sinz
France | 2013 | 78'
World premiere at Visions du Réel 2013
PRIX REGARD NEUF DU CANTON DE VAUD for the best first feature film
and special mention of the Interreligious Jury
Yarmouk is a district of Damascus created in 1957 which accommodates an (unofficial) camp for Palestinian refugees who fled Nakba (1948): concrete towers bristling with antennas, a camp becoming taller and taller... although it is far from reaching for the stars. Hassan, a theatre buff, loves this camp and its terraces overlooking the town; as for Ala'a, he has taken a detour to study film in Chile; Samer is attempting to avoid compulsory service in the Syrian army; and Tasneem and Waed are continuing their education. Les Chebabs du Yarmouk, as they call themselves, are a group of third-generation Palestinian friends. Stuck in a country where they grew up without ever feeling integrated, they dream, smoke, talk and help each other out, all under the gaze of Axel Salvatori-Sinz’s observant camera. The time of the Fedayeen and the nationalist revolution is long gone. The “chebabs” (a term designating young Palestinian fighters) are like a flock of pigeons flying over the rooftops of Yarmouk – a recurring motif in the film. The skies appear to belong to them, and yet their short flight always brings them back to the starting point.
Special screening followed by a discussion around the Palestinian diaspora, with special guests Lisa Rostane from the Collectif Urgence Palestine and Rania Madi from the association BADIL.