‘Farha’ and the importance of storytelling through film

The official poster for Farha (2022)


The official poster for Farha (2022)

Our present is very much the culmination of our ancestors’ past successes as well as traumas, their risks, and their attempts to create better environments for their children.

That is what Darin J Sallam’s film “Farha,” which debuted on Netflix on Dec. 1st, brings to light. Sallam, a Jordanian of Palestinian descent, carefully crafts this drama based on a young girl’s struggle for survival during the Nakba (Arabic for ‘catastrophe’) and doesn’t shy away from having the viewer experience the loneliness and trauma its protagonist lives through.

Jordanian actress Karam Taher plays Farha excellently, as we see her go from ambitious and full of life to someone who has scars forced upon her as a product of the Nakba.

She also faces off with her old-fashioned father, who wishes for her to marry young and needs her uncle’s convincing to concede and support her dream of attending school. The settler’s attacks on their village erase this all. School is no longer a priority for Farha, another implication of the cruel and violent displacements.

While most of the film takes place in a pantry, the movie still paints a vivid emotional portrait of all the stress, fears, and exhaustion Farha experiences. It personalizes a much broader tragic story for audiences to empathize with.

We see young Farha lose her home, her dreams, and her friends (over 700,000 Palestinians were forced from their villages during the Nakba). Along the way, she discovers a secret that devastates her worldview.

In her debut feature film, Sallam is able to open the eyes of viewers, perhaps unfamiliar with the subject matter, with the skills of a director who clearly understands the art.

This film comes at a time when Palestinian journalists such as Shireen Abu Akleh are murdered in broad daylight. Therefore, the ability to tell their own stories and those of their ancestors is all the more crucial, and “Farha” excels in this respect.