A senior Zionist leader expected in 1948 that the first and second Palestinian generations would die and the third and forth ones would become desperate while the fifth generation would forget Palestine and become incorporated in the Arab communities here and there.
The film Ahlam al Manfa (Exile Dream) by the Palestinian-Lebanese director May al Masri is about the fifth Palestinian generation with its stars being young Palestinian girls who live in Beirut’s Shatilla Camp or Dehaishah Camp near Bethlehem.
This fifth generation with its extreme desire to return to its original place and homeland appears to be more rushing to what may achieve the return.
A young girl from Shatilla Camp says, “we are here in a prison without future or any hope. Is this a life? Another young girl from Dehaishah Camp repeats the same words, as the situation in both camps is similar.
The first girl also says, “I dream to be a bird in order to cross the borders to Palestine.”
It is a film that expresses the dreams of young girls in the camps here and there but it depicts the Palestinian beauty in the first place with its spirit and appearance. Despite their longstanding catastrophes, these people seem capable of feeling happy and delighted.
The film reveals the power of the Palestinian spirit without raising any banners. It is free of ideology or common politics and hides behind it a sensitive heart and eye, the heart and eye of May al Masri who knows how to reflect the controversy surrounding the present Palestinian situation with its miserable and merry dimensions.
In one of the film’s shots, a man is seen leaning on two walking sticks and an old woman performing folk dancing, which adds charm to the whole film. The film reaches its peak at the thorny wires at Fatma Gateway where May exploited the rare moment when the Israeli occupation forces left south Lebanon and the spontaneous influx of people to the gateway to celebrate the departure of the invasion forces. Some people meet their relatives for the first time after 30 or 40 years. This is the longing deeply rooted in the heart of the Palestinian to return to his homeland and integrate with his people, place and homeland -- Albawaba.com