From Palestinian yearnings, a subtle poetry.
DIRECTED BY AXEL SALVATORI-SINZ (France, World Showcase)
Friday, April 26, 8 p.m.
TIFF Bell Lightbox (350 King Street West)
Saturday, April 27, 4 p.m.
Scotiabank Theatre (259 Richmond Street West)
Viewers seeking a comprehensive understanding of the dislocation of stateless Palestinians may find themselves frustrated by The Shebabs of Yarmouk, which, despite taking place in the sprawling concrete canyons of the titular Damascus enclave, yields precious little in the way of concrete contextual detail. Indeed, even the names of the film’s protagonists—a close-knit collective of third-generation refugees—prove difficult to pin down.
Nonetheless, director Axel Salvatori-Sinz invites audiences to observe his subjects’ candid conversations and intimately amiable banter. From this material, he constructs a subtly poetic portrait of a vagabond people. Rootless by birth, but constrained by the bureaucracy of their crowded adoptive community, each finds the typical uncertainties of young adulthood compounded by a more fundamental ambivalence. Undoubtedly, their strongest bonds are to one another—a fact that makes their efforts to seek separate futures abroad pointedly bittersweet.