A peasant family in Ramallah 1900-1910
London – Arab Today
A documentary filmmaker is on the hunt for love stories from Palestine before the 1948 Nakba, or catastrophe, when Israel was founded and Palestinians were driven from their homes.
Dahna Abourahme, a Palestinian director who grew up in Abu Dhabi and Amman, described her latest project as “journey in search of love stories set against the tumultuous changes of early twentieth-century Palestine”.
Writing on the website Jadaliyya, Abourahme continued: “It unravels a different geography of love and belonging across generations. Therefore, I am looking for love stories from Palestine from the early 1900s through 1950s. Love stories lived by Palestinians, or those in Palestine and the surrounding countries during that time.”
The filmmaker is looking stories that “break break taboos, cross borders (geographic, social, religious, and such); love stories that are bitter or sweet, innocent or passionate, that take us on an adventure into a different time and place.”
“At a time when revolutions are spreading across the Arab world and there is a popular desire to imagine a different kind of society and region, I am reaching back into our past, to the years between the late Ottoman Empire and the end of the British mandate in pre-1948 Palestine, to imagine the possibilities that could have been, that can still be,” she added.
Abourahme’s first feature film, “Until When”, follows the lives of four families living in Dheisheh refugee camp in Bethlehem, West Bank during the second intifada, while her second, “The Kingdom of Women: Ein El Hilweh”, is set in Lebanon.
Her new project aims to take viewers back to the first half of the twentieth century through “the intimate lives of ordinary people who lived through sweeping historical events”, the filmmaker wrote on Jadaliyya.
“Through the lens of love stories that originate from Palestine and spiral beyond, the film engages with a time and place when borders and identities were not as defined and rigid as they are today.
“Moving between characters in the past and the present, the film meshes together an intergenerational thread that binds us together. Stories that in their (re)telling also connect us to the historical and social forces at play, and how people fought against injustice, as well as found love and belonging.”
Anyone with a story they would like to share can contact Abourahme on [email protected]