TIFF 2021: “Farha”

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Wars not only takes away lives, it kills dreams, reduces hope to the minimum and leaves nothing but despair and broken lives. It takes time to repair the devastating outcome of war if one is lucky enough to survive it.

Farha is a 14-year-old girl who dreams of education and becoming a teacher. Girls at her age expect to be married and her devoted father wants her to fulfill the demands of society. It is by pure luck or because of his wisdom, he agrees to let his daughter get an education no matter how strict he was. But that opportunity is taken away by the bombs of Israeli soldiers who begin the occupation of their village after the departure of British soldiers.

An impressive first directorial debut by Jordanian filmmaker Darin J. Sallam, ”Farha” gives much more to the audience than one can expect. What starts as a hopeful story turns into the story of survival, burned dreams and a devastating environment created by war. When Farha gets a chance to leave the city, she returns back to her father, as she did not want to leave him alone.

But when he puts her into a hiding place from soldiers, he promises to come back for her. While she awaits for him in a confined place, the film captures the moments of terror through the sounds coming from the outside, as inside, Farha must remain silent and hope to not be captured or killed by the soldiers.

“Farha”, based on true events, is a harrowing story that, sadly, occurs across the globe. War has neither changed its true colors nor its evil intentions, and “Farha” captures that well. We know that the little girl is too devoted to her father. When she got a chance to escape the nightmare, she runs towards it without hesitation, even though the next bullet flying around could hit her first. But that is her spirit, her strength and love for the father, which she wants to showcase in the best way possible despite the fact that the path she has taken will put her backwards and her dreams will never come true.

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