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30 Years with Chadia and Her Daughters

June 12, 2024

A Syrian refugee family in Lebanon treads the line between resignation and rebellion. For 30 years, filmmaker Leyla Assaf-Tengroth observes the lives of Chadia and her daughters.

30 Years with Chadia and Her Daughters
ChadiaImage: SVT

Thereby mirroring a range of religious, ideological and political conflicts.

It all begins when Leyla Assaf-Tengroth is in Beirut in the early 1990s to shoot the feature film "The Freedom Gang". The filmmaker spots Rim, then nine years old, on the street and offers her the leading role.

30 Years with Chadia and Her Daughters
Rim as an actress.Image: SVT

As part of the girl’s fee, Assaf-Tengroth also pays for her to attend school, until Rim’s father takes her out of school to marry her off. After this, the director trains her camera on Rim’s family and observes them - for 30 years.

The film is a long-term documentary about the female members of the family. There’s Chadia, mother of ten; her daughter, Rim, and Rim’s sisters Dalida, Safia and Ramia. The film follows Rim and her sisters from childhood to her adult life, as a wife and mother.

30 Years with Chadia and Her Daughters
Rim with her husband and children.Image: SVT

Rim’s brilliant future is cut short at age 13 as her father forces her to marry her cousin, twice her age.

Ramia gives birth to her first child at age 14. Dalida refuses to marry at 14, despite being abused by her uncles and father. She ends up making her own decision and marries a Christian police officer, with her father’s approval. 

30 Years with Chadia and Her Daughters
Chadia and her husband.Image: SVT

Having endured decades of poverty and alienation, Chadia faces something even worse: Will her husband abandon her?

The documentary is a family chronicle about life as a refugee and as a woman in a strict patriarchy, about rebellion and resignation, joy, pain and the dream of freedom.

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SAT 22.06.2024 – 10:30 UTC
SAT 22.06.2024 – 21:30 UTC
SUN 23.06.2024 – 04:30 UTC

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