Leen Alfaisal’s ‘The Borrowed Dress’ featured in Beirut Film Festival

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The Borrowed Dress, a film by Syrian filmmaker and Al Arabiya English journalist Leen Alfaisal, is nominated for the International Feature Documentary Competition at the Beirut International Women Film Festival (BWFF).

The film, set to screen at BWFF on Wednesday, tells the story of the filmmaker’s displaced family, whose members have been scattered across the globe as a result of the Syrian war. It follows Alfaisal’s 80-year-old Syrian grandmother, Susu, who is forced to flee war-torn Damascus to live in safer environment with her daughter in Dubai.

While in Dubai, Susu receives the news that her youngest daughter, Duaa, who has been living as an illegal refugee in Lebanon with her teenage son, has been granted the right by the United Nations to relocate to Norway.

Duaa’s son however, is not granted relocation along with his mom, leaving her in the dilemma of deciding between leaving to Norway, or staying in Lebanon.

Between Susu’s last chance to see her daughter Duaa and bid her farewell, her longing to once again reside in her Damascene home, and Duaa’s struggle of leaving behind a teenage child in a country overwhelmed with instability, the film follows the family’s story to give the audience a glimpse of what the war has done to pull apart the family.

With both its main characters as women, The Borrowed Dress explores the shifting gender roles that followed the Syrian Revolution, and portrays one of many cases of Syrian women who found themselves at crossroads with making decisions away from the patriarchal society they had been accustomed to.

Awarded Best Documentary at the 2018 Silk Road International Film Festival in Dublin, Ireland, The Borrowed Dress has aired on Al Arabiya, the BBC, and is also available on MBC’s online streaming platform, Shahid.net.

The film was nominated for three awards, Best Director, Best Documentary, and Best Editing at the London International Filmmakers Film Festival last year.

It is also scheduled for a preview at the BBC Film Festival in London where Alfaisal will be competing in the documentary competition. The festival will be happening from March 22 till 27.

BWFF is an annual film festival held in Beirut dedicated to showcasing films about women or made by women, with the aim of tackling issues such as gender equality, domestic violence and abuse.

The festival kicked off its first day today with an opening ceremony at the Casino Du Liban, and goes on till March 15.