How to survive in the detention camp of Khiam in South Lebanon?
Set up in 1985, in the security zone occupied by Israel since 1978, the detention camp of Khiam was run by Israel’s auxiliary militia, the South Lebanon Army. Arbitrariness and torture prevailed in this place of “no-law” until the Israeli withdrawal in May 2000.
Sonia, Afif, Soha, Rajae, Kifah, Neeman spent more than ten years in that hell.
They describe how to live, sleep, dream and think between the four walls of a 1m80x80 cell for 6 or 10 years.
In those cells, all they had was their prison garb, a mattress and a blanket.
Deprived of basic necessities, the prisoners recreated them, picking up secretly and hiding bits of string, wood and stone, cheese wrappers, olive stones, garbage. They unraveled their socks and their blankets, cut up their sweaters, turned pinches of earth into pigments. They secretly produced a needle, a pencil, strings of beads made of olive stones, flowers, sculptures, a chess game. The prisoners developed and exchanged extraordinary production techniques to be able to communicate, to create, to disobey and to preserve that very sense of humanity that such a camp tries to eradicate.
This document was filmed with a sense of urgency, as intimate testimonies just before the camp was dismantled. Rather than a political condemnation, it attempts a metaphysical reflection on manÃ•s willpower and wish to live. It is also a work on representation and its limits, on evocation, on being confronted to an experience which can hardly be shared, camp life and detention.