Eye For Film >> Movies >> Twice Upon A Time (2016) Film Review
Twice Upon A Time
Reviewed by: Angus Wolfe Murray
Growing up in Beirut during the civil war was so dark she cannot see inside, she cannot remember it. Her childhood is a black hole. She needs to fill the spaces, she needs to discover the feelings.
This is the experience of writer/director Niam Itani.
Her family fled the city and became refugees and ended up in Ghazzeh, poor, together, yet alive. She has memories of this, kind memories.
The documentary is not about her so much as Khalil and his life in the village. He is a refugee from another civil war in Syria. He is a boy.
Itani wants to use Khalil's life now and life then as a key to unlock her own childhood. It doesn't open. The concept is too vague, too individual.
Khalil is lucky. Ghazzeh is a good place. He goes to a good school. He is alone. He stands in the playground, not playing.
In time things change. He makes friends. His mother says he was such a sweet boy and now he is disturbed, full of aggression. In the film he appears shy, quiet, gentle. Someone gives him a kite. He loves his kite. Life is beautiful.
He misses Syria. He misses his home in Syria.
"Our future is lost," his mother says. "There is nothing to move forward to."
Itani's film asks more questions than it answers. She sets herself an impossible task, the sharing of memories, shuffling through darkness to find a familiar pain and then release it. The pain is there, locked. The village, the kindness of strangers, the sun in the morning, the absence of bombs, the presence of dogs, cows, birds is what they have to heal the past.
Itani remembers when she was young she had a favourite kite that got stuck on electric wires and remained there for months. Blue kite on the wire.
"This was the happiest memory of my childhood."Reviewed on: 25 Jun 2016