Les chebabs de Yarmouk

Axel Salvatori-Sinz
France | 2013 | 78 min
World premiere
Language : Arabic
Subtitles : English, French

Ala'a Hassan, Samer, Tasneem and Waed are third-generation Palestinian refugees living in the Syrian camp at Yarmouk. They are part of “Les Chebabs”, a group they formed in their teenage years. With his observant camera in tow, Axel Salvatori-Sinz films these young people haunted by doubts about their future life choices, caught between loyalty to their friends and a desire to take flight, sometimes leaving the others far behind.

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.

Emmanuel Chicon


International Feature Film Competition

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