Habibi

Susan Youssef

Habibi takes an old Arabian folktale about forbidden love and retells it as a love story between two students in the modern-day Middle East. At university in the West Bank, dreamy Qays and lovely Layla fall head-over-heels for each other’s charms. When their student visas are revoked, they return to the Palestinian village where they both were born.

To marry the woman he loves, Qays has to save up enough to pay the dowry. Because he wasn’t able to finish his studies, he is now living with his impoverished father in a refugee camp and trying to scrape some money together by working a construction job. Meanwhile, he proclaims his love for Layla by writing poems on the barrier walls in the Palestinian village. His poetic night-time escapades place both Qays and Layla in danger, as her reputation is called into question. Layla hopes to continue her studies and eventually build a life with Qays, but her parents and brother have other plans for her future.

Habibi is the first feature-length film to be recorded in the tumultuous Gaza Strip in 15 years.

Credits

Subtitles
EN
Director
Susan Youssef
Country
Netherlands, The, Palestine, United Arab Emirates, United States
Type
Fiction
Duration
80 minutes
Themes
cultural rights & traditions, freedom of speech, association etc., religion
Year
2011