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IDFA 2023 waking up in silence 1

waking up in silence & Three Promises

IDFA 2023: waking up in silence & Three Promises

During this screening, the short film waking up in silence will be followed by Three Promises.

poster IDFA 2023
During this screening, the short film waking up in silence will be followed by Three Promises.


  • IDFA 2023 waking up in silence 1

    waking up in silence

    In a peaceful and functional reception centre for Ukrainian refugees—a former Wehrmacht military barracks—the children are left to their own devices. Three friends teach each other German words, a boy mends a bicycle tire, a teenage girl and her toddler brother talk on a smartphone with their dad back in Kyiv, a girl chalks on the curb, “Putin, stop killing people.”

    The camera explores the grounds and examines the buildings—the sombre gray façade, the walls inside. Sometimes its gaze, as innocent as that of a child, dwells on a detail—the statue of an eagle on the wall, a painted war scene in a classroom, a sticker of an American army unit on a window. Witnesses from another era. Meanwhile, the children play, or sit on the grass eating out of a bag of strawberries, which taste sweeter back home. In the evening it is quiet.

  • IDFA 2023 Three Promises

    Three Promises

    At the turn of the millennium, as the Israeli army retaliates against the Second Intifada in the West Bank, Suha, a Palestinian mother, films her family’s daily life. Time spent sheltering in the basement at night and her two young children’s fear of the shelling are recurring elements. The scenes also have something commonplace about them, apparent in the family members who are not used to the ever-present camera, as well as the fact that the children still head off to school each morning.

    In 2017, Suha’s son Yousef, the director of this documentary, discovered the videos. Together with his mother, he explores why she chose to film her family’s life in wartime. And why she waited to flee the country—several times Suha broke a promise she made to God that she would leave.

    This clever debut film underlines the value of documenting the present: the filmmaker constructs new stories with old footage. It’s a story of a mother with her camera, a boy and his childhood, and at the same time, the history of the Palestinian people.

This is part of



89 min.

Part of

IDFA 2023

Documentary lovers, keep 9 through 19 November free in your calendar. The International Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam presents its 36th edition in cinemas throughout Amsterdam, including several special programmes in Eye.

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IDFA 2023 Three Promises
IDFA 2023 waking up in silence 3
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