The film, directed by Chloe Ruthven, explores the impact of decades of foreign aid on Palestinians and asks whether the West’s acts of altruism are in fact helping to maintain the injustices of the status quo.
Ruthven’s grandparents were aid workers in Palestine. Growing up, she had avoided getting too involved in the subject, recalling how mention of the country made all the adults in her life angry. In her forties, after revisiting her grandmother’s book on the subject, she starts to research a documentary on the effects of foreign aid in the area and is shocked at the continued reliance on it there.
Along the way Luthven meets Lubna, a Palestinian woman who acts as her driver and fixer, and who is fiercely critical of Western aid efforts in her country. What begins as a quest to better understand her family history turns into a deeply emotional account of two women trying to understand one another. Ruthven’s determination to focus her film on deeply subjective analysis results in a unique joining of the acutely personal and complexly political.
The Q&A from the premiere: