Before his family moved to Denmark, Mahdi Fleifel spent his formative years in the Palestinian refugee camp of Ain el-Helweh in Lebanon, home to over 70,000 displaced Palestinians. He inherited his father’s compulsion for video taping and kept video diaries each time he went back to the camp for his summer holidays. As an adult he returns, challenging his teenage belief that ‘going to Ain el-Helweh is better than going to Disney Land’.
At the heart of the film is Fleifel’s relationship with his childhood friend Abu Iyad. They share an obsession for football, the World Cup, and Palestinian politics. While Fleifel can freely move in and out of the camp, Iyad does not have this freedom – an inequity that challenges their friendship and brings to light bigger questions about the sustainability of these camps.
A World Not Ours is an intimate, and often humorous, portrait of three generations of exile, based on a wealth of personal recordings, family archives, and historical footage. It is a sensitive, and illuminating study of belonging, friendship, and family.
Directed by Mahdi Fleifel