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Films for Palestine: "Return to Haifa " (1982)

When: Wednesday, February 21, 2024, 6:00 PM - 8:00 PM
Where: Hitchcock Cinema, Arts One, Queen Mary University of London, Mile End Road, London, E1 4NS


An internal screening and discussion for QM staff and students, hosted by Centre for Film and Ethics


Kasem Hawal's adaptation of the Ghassan Kanafani novella "Return to Haifa" is a rarely seen gem. Kanafani's seminal allegorical story tells of Safia and Saeed, who are forced by gunfire and artillery to leave their 5-month-old son Khaldoun in the city of Haifa when they are expelled in April 1948.

Twenty years on, with the 1967 war and the Israeli occupation of the West Bank and Gaza, the couple are able to travel to Haifa. They discover that Khaldoun, now Dov, was adopted by Jewish immigrants arriving in 1948, and - now 20 - has recently enlisted in the Israeli army.

The story and the film - which remains true to Kanafani's style and purpose - proceed to pursue impossible questions - who is the real mother? Who is the real father? What is a homeland, and whose is it? And, finally, what is the way to Return to Haifa.

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Centre for Film and Ethics and IHSS Fellows Dr Yasmin Fedda and Dr Daniel Mann

The organisers will be collecting donations for Ghassan Abu Sittah Children’s Fund.

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