I signed the petition

Mahdi Fleifel

I SIGNED THE PETITION | A crisis of contemplation in the midst of a conversation

Directed by Danish-Palestinian film director Mahdi Fleifel, I Signed the Petition follows a Palestinian filmmaker living in Berlin, signing an online petition for a cultural boycott of Israel. Riddled with confusion, self-doubt, and panic-inducing anxiety; he accidentally wakes his friend Faris Nasrallah in England and strikes up a conversation about his worries.

In 2009, Fleifel graduated from the UK National Film & TV School and co-founded the London-based production company Nakba FilmWorks, alongside Irish producer Patrick Campbell. Fleifel’s debut feature in 2012, A World Not Ours premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival and received numerous accolades, including the Peace Film Prize at the 2013 Berlinale and the Edinburgh, Yamagata and DOC:NYC Grand Jury Prizes.

Structured as the audience eavesdropping on their conversation and juxtaposed with the camera roaming around Fleifel’s room and footage of the streets in Palestine. With the conflict between Palestine and Israel still ongoing, Fleifel’s personal worries transcend the film’s overall plight. As a Palestenian, he is already treated with suspicion. He discusses, analyzes, and deconstructs his decision to sign the petition with his understanding friend Faris over a phone call.

As the viewers who may or may not share the same experiences as Fleifel, we observe how this decision truly affects him. After all, the film suggests that Fleifel may or may not be in his room in Berlin as the camera looms around the four corners with a grainy feel. A room signifies one’s safe place and away from the public noise in the world. This heartfelt conversation between him and Faris was done behind closed doors. 

Ralph Regis is currently a junior film student at De La Salle-College of Saint Benilde in Manila, Philippines.