• Story line
    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 man’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.
  • production


    Abbout Productions

    Production Date


    Editing and post-production

    Djinn house Auditorium de l’iesav
  • cast and crew
    CastRaja’ Abou Haman, Kifah Afifi, Sonia Baydoun, Soha Bechara, Afif Hammoud, Neeman Nasrallah
    World SellerIdeale Audience Internationale
    English titleKhiam
    Original titleKhiam
    DirectorsJoana Hadjithomas and Khalil Joreige
    Beta Digital
    Original Formatvideo Mini DV
    Language for dialoguesArabic
    SubtitlesEnglish or French
    Image and soundJoana Hadjithomas and Khalil Joreige
    EditingMichele Tyan
    Sound EditingMarcello
    MixingJean Gebran
  • Directors Note
  • screenings
  • Festivals
    • Festival International des programmes audiovisuels Biarritz, France 2001
    • San Francisco International Film Festival, United States
    • Rotterdam International Film Festival, the Netherlands
    • Marseille International Documentary Festival
    • Carte Blanche, France
    • Munich International Documentary Festival, Germany
    • Beirut International Film Festival
    • Les Rencontres Internationales de Paris, France
    • Amiens International Film Festival, France
    • Ecrans Documentaires de Gentilly, France
    • Festival du Film de Vesoul, France
    • London Film Festival, United Kingdom
    • Milano International Film Festival, Italy
    • Songe d’une nuit DV
    • Festival de St Denis, France
    • Vancouver International Film Festival, Canada
    • Biennale de l’Institut du Monde Arabe Paris, France
    • San Francisco Arabic Film Festival, United States
    • Carthage International Film Festival, Tunisia
    • Video brasil Sao Paulo, Brazil
    Galleries and Museums
    • Galerie Nationale du Jeu de Paume (Inventaires contemporains) Paris, France
    • Pacific Film Archive Berkeley, United States
    • Centre d’art contemporain La Criee Rennes, France
    • Photo Cairo, Egypt
    • Centre Wallonie-Bruxelles Paris, France
    • Ecole Nationale des Beaux Arts Rennes, France
    • Galerie INOVA, United States
    • Museum Reine Sofie, Spain
    • Mosaics de Libano Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
    • Never the right time: Experimental media from the Arab world, Club Saw Ottawa, Canada
    • Carte blanche FID Marseille, Inauguration of MK2 Bibliothèque Paris, France
    • Galerie Tanit Munich, Germany
    • Lift theatre London, United Kingdom
    • Biennale de Cetinje, Montenegro
    • Sequence of Tense, Insa Art Space, Art Council Korea, Alternative Space Pool, Korea