Villa Touma is a Kammerspielfilm about three upper-class Palestinian sisters who live in Ramallah as if 1967 never happened. Suha Arraf, screenwriter of The Syrian Bride and Lemon Tree, originally made the film as a Palestinian production, but when Israeli politicians demanded that the sponsoring for this film be withdrawn and the money returned, she thought of a clever compromise and submitted the film to festivals as ‘stateless’.
Young Badia, who grew up in an orphanage, moves into Villa Touma, the name of the house where her three aunts live. The three sisters lead an isolated existence, as if life has not changed since the days of the Six Days’ War when Israel seized the city. Badia receives a cool reception from the eldest sister Juliette. The middle sister Violette is the neurotic sibling, while the youngest sister Antoinette is completely under her family’s control. Theirs is a life dictated by routine. The sisters go about wearing old-fashioned velvet gloves and veiled hats; their life has not changed since the early 1960s.
In this world where everything has its time and place, enters the timid Badia. In anticipation of marriage to one of Ramallah’s most coveted upper-class bachelors, the sisters prepare her for her new life with endless piano practice and lessons in comportment. To the outside world however this is a most peculiar family. Villa Touma thus symbolizes the plight of Palestinians who are caught in the past and refuse to acknowledge the painful changes that have taken place around them.