feature documentary

My Father's House

“In a way, it’s sort of the fate of Palestinians, not to end up where they started, but somewhere unexpected and far away.” – Edward W. Said



“My Father’s House” is a deeply personal and poignant documentary film by Mahdi Fleifel that delves into the complex and mysterious life of the filmmaker’s father, who passed away at the age of 59. The story takes us through memory, exile, and exploring a father-son relationship marked by distance and enigma. Through a mix of family archives, old photographs, and videotapes left behind by the father, Fleifel unravels the life of a man who always felt like an outsider, from his days as a young refugee in the 1970s to his pursuit of a different world in Dubai. The film also explores the family’s move to Denmark and their life in a house that symbolized more than just a home; it was a testament to their ‘happy lives’ in a foreign land. In the filmmaker’s words, “My Father’s House” is a story of family bonds across generations and the merging of two distinct worlds, marked by nostalgia and a son’s quest to understand his father.



The documentary employs an essayistic and first-person approach, much like Fleifel’s previous work, “A World Not Ours,” to create an intimate narrative that combines anecdotes, voice-overs, and references to classic literature, including influences from writers like Hanif Kureishi, Charles Bukowski, Orhan Pamuk, and Franz Kafka. The film’s structure is inspired by Shakespeare’s “Hamlet,” with chapters or acts guiding the storytelling, alluding to the haunting presence of the father’s ghost. Fleifel seeks to take the viewer through his father’s life, his own experiences, and a family trip to Palestine, offering a powerful exploration of homecoming and what it means to belong. “My Father’s House” is a heartfelt exploration of family, memory, and the quest for understanding a father who remains a mysterious figure tucked away in old photographs and video tapes. 


Al-Jazeera, AFAC, Doha Film Institute, IMS.


Late stage of development

Mahdi Fleifel

Mahdi Fleifel

Geoff Arbourne