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Still My Paper Life

My Paper Life

Vida Dena / BE, FR, 2022 / 78 min.

Iranian filmmaker Vida Dena follows an immigrant Syrian family in Brussels in this, her debut film. She brings their memories and experiences to life by animating the cutout drawings they make together.

poster IDFA 2022

Iranian filmmaker Vida Dena joins a drawing course and meets Naseem, a Syrian who has fled to Brussels with his family. She decides to film them, and brings to life the drawings they make together in simple but powerful animations accompanied by music from fellow Syrian refugee, artist Noma Omran.

Drawing has become a way of processing the trauma of war within the walls of the family’s dilapidated apartment. Dena zooms in on Hala and Rima, the two teenage daughters whose feelings and stories are depicted in the animations through their cutout drawings.

With war and destruction in the past, space gradually grows for building something new. A fifth child is born, Rima gets engaged, and the camera takes tentative steps outside their cramped home for the first time. But new setbacks are still to come in this intimate, award-winning (Visions du Réel) portrait of an immigrant family detached from time and place, trying to find meaning in a new context.

This is part of



Vida Dena

Production year





78 min.


French, Arabic



Part of

IDFA 2022

Documentary lovers, keep 9 through 20 November free in your calendar. The International Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam presents its 35th edition in cinemas throughout Amsterdam, including several special programmes in Eye.

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