The district of Yarmouk (Damascus, Syria) sheltered the biggest Palestinian refugee camp in the world from 1957 to 2018.
When the Syrian revolution broke out, the regime of Bashar Al-Assad saw Yarmouk as a refuge of rebels and resistance and set up a siege from 2013 on. Gradually deprived of food, medicine and electricity, Yarmouk was cut off from the rest of the world.
Abdallah Al-Khatib was born in Yarmouk and lived there until his expulsion by Daesh in 2015. Between 2011 and 2015, he and his friends documented the daily life of the besieged inhabitants, who decided to face bombing, displacement and hunger with rallying, study, music, love and joy.
Hundreds of lives were irredeemably transformed by war and siege – from Abdallah’s mother, who turned into a nurse taking care of the elderly at the camp, to the fiercest activists whose passion for Palestine got gradually undermined by hunger…
Dir. Abdallah Al-Khatib - 89min - 2021 - Lebanon, France, Qatar
"Abdallah Al-Khatib’s searing documentary was completed two years ago; its arrival now has an awful new significance" - Guardian
"People in the sealed-off Yarmuk refugee camp assert their humanity in the Syrian civil war despite hunger and lack of prospects, while the humanitarian world remains on the sidelines. When a small street choir sings to piano accompaniment and the noise of bombs, their song joins the sad chorale of similar sieges in world history.” - Jury Statement, Interreligious Award, Visions du Réel 2021
"There is something about Al-Khatib and the people of Yarmouk that transmutes the very best as well as the very worst aspects of humanity. In one scene, deep into the siege, he asks a gaggle of young children what they dream about. One says, “the road opening up”...One says, “hearing my grandmother eat bread’. It is among the most stirring things I’ve ever seen: a nurturing desire in one so young and so under duress." - Little White Lies
"A poetic tribute to humanity and the spirit of those he meets, Al-Khatib’s film is a hymn to resistance." - The National