Three Promises

Palestine | 2023 | 61 min. | Yusef Srouji

Director Yousef Srouji edits his mother’s home movies of life in Palestine during Israel’s retaliation against the Second Intifada to produce a portrait of life in wartime that could not be more relevant today.

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In the early 2000s, when the Israeli army was retaliating against the Second Intifada in the West Bank in Palestine, Suha filmed the experience from the hillside town of Beit Jala, where she lived with her family. Two decades later, her son has edited that footage and interwoven it with present-day conversations with his mother about what that period was like. The result provides a remarkable insight into daily life during wartime—the uncertainty, the upheaval, the terror—which families in Gaza are experiencing today. Suha and her husband try to gauge the distance of the attacks in order to calculate the degree of threat. Is it time to go down to the basement, or is it still okay to remain upstairs? Will the children be safer against the wall or in the corner? At the moments of greatest danger, Suha promises God that, if they survive, they will leave—they are fortunate enough to be able to do so. But leaving feels almost as impossible as staying, a choice between emotional anguish (not to mention the logistical ordeal) and physical jeopardy. In this way, the film is also an exploration of the topic of forced migration, another aspect of the Palestinian experience that is still with us in the present.

Justine Barda

  • Director: Yusef Srouji
  • Principal Cast: Suha Khamis, Yousef Srouji, Ramzi Srouji, Dima Srouji
  • Country: Palestine, United States, Lebanon
  • Year: 2023
  • Running Time: 61 min.
  • Producer: Marielle Olentine, Zein Khleif
  • Screenplay: Yousef Srouji, Marielle Olentine, Mahdokht Mahmoudabadi
  • Cinematographers: Suha Khamis, Mashal Kawasmi
  • Editors: Mahdokht Mahmoudabadi
  • Music: Ghiya Rushidat
  • Website: Official Film Website
  • Awards: Camden International Film Festival 2023 (Harrell Award: Best Documentary), DocPoint 2024 (Best International Documentary Film), Mena Film Festival 2024 (Audience Choice Award: Best International Documentary Film, Buraq Award: Best alternative and experimental take on MENA/SWANA identity)
  • Filmography: Debut Feature Film
  • Language: Arabic
  • Has Subtitles: Yes
  • International Sales: Suha Documentary LLC

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