A World Not Ours

Mahdi Fleifel

Unique, intimate and humorous insight into in the life of Palestinian refugees in the Ain el-Helweh (‘sweet spring’) camp in Lebanon, where some 70,000 refugees live on a few square miles. Using a wealth of homevideo footage and archive films, director Mahdi Fleifel pays tribute to friendship and family ties.

Mahdi Fleifel was introduced to filmmaking at an early age. His father captured anything worth filming on his camcorder and subsequently sent the self-made footage to family members. Fleifel was born in Dubai, but spent a large part of his childhood in the Ain el-Helweh refugee camp. When violence against the Palestinians flared, he and his family went to Denmark. However, Fleifel has always felt very much attached to Ain el-Helweh, and every few years he returns to register the life of his friends and family members in the camp on video. This has resulted in a cheerful and touching video journal, which focuses on his friendship with Abu Iyad. Both boys have a passion for football and like to discuss Palestinian politics. Whereas Fleifel can come and go whenever he wants, his friend is doomed to a blind-alley existence in the camp for the rest of his life. While giving their friendship an extra dimension, this inequality also puts it under pressure.


Mahdi Fleifel
Patrick Campbell
Country of production
United Kingdom, Lebanon, Denmark
93 minutes
Spoken language
Arabic, English
Production company
Nakba FilmWorks