The Turtle’s Rage

Germany 2011, Documentary, 70’ | Director Pary El-Qalqili | Screenplay Pary El-Qalqili, Silvia Wolkan | DoP Aline Lázló | Editor Ulrike Tortora | Sound Franziska von Malsen | Production Kaissar Film, in co-production with ARTE, BR, Hochschule für Fernsehen und Film München | Contact Hochschule für Fernsehen und Film München

»When I was 12 years old, my father left us to return to Palestine. His dream to build a house and pursue the fight for freedom in Palestine failed. He was expelled by the Israelis. Suddenly he was back in Berlin, ringing at our front door. My mother looked at him, did not say a word and let him in. Now he spends his days sitting in the cellar of our small row house. Withdrawn in his turtle shell. My mother lives upstairs. They are not fighting anymore. They try not to cross each other’s path. Not a sound is to be heard. Only the creaking steps of my mother on the stairs. The whirr of the television. And my nagging questions to my father.«
Pary El-Qalqili

With her camera the daughter approaches her father in the Berlin cellar where he is frittering his existence away. Together they travel across Egypt, Palestine and Jordan: an argument at the airport, singing with taxi drivers, lonely nights in hotels, wranglings at remote petrol stations. Drinking a beer in the Naqab desert: in Schildkrötenwut, Pary El-Qalqili tells the story of her father, whose life is marked by flight, expulsion, a life in exile and the failed return to Palestine. Whose biography is disrupted by the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and whose daughter is searching for answers that often he himself cannot give her.

Pary El-Qalqili is certainly representative here of a young generation of Arab filmmakers or those of Arab origin who are trying to make some sense of the revolutionary past, which for their parents has become synonymous with broken promises, failure and pain. El-Qalqili presents the story of her father with many nuances, making it impossible to think along the lines of victim and perpetrator, good and evil, black and white.

 

Biography
PARY EL-QALQILI was born in 1982 in Berlin. Since 2006, she is studying Directing at the Documentary Department at the University of Television and Film Munich. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in Cultural Sciences from the European University Viadrina in Frankfurt Oder. For her short film The Calm Before the Storm she received the Starter Filmprize of the city of Munich in 2009. The Turtle’s Rage is her first feature documentary.

 

Films by Pary El-Qalqili
ruhe im kopf 2008 | angstkommen 2008 | Josip 2007

Pary El-Qalqili
Germany
2011
Documentary
2012
Focus: The Arab World