When I Saw You
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    When I Saw You

    Directed by

    Palestine, Jordan, United Arab Emirates, Greece


    93 min

    • Arabic


    Toronto IFF - Contemporary World Cinema

    Jordan 1967: Eleven-year-old Tarek is stranded in the Harir refugee camp with his mother Ghaydaa. Palestine is not far away, but it’s as out of reach as his father. The adults have installed themselves among the tents and improvised dwellings, more than used to waiting. The boy hates the tight quarters, the dumb teacher, the slimy food … and the patience of the others. When an older woman tells him she’s been in the camp for more than twenty years, he knows the time has come for him to leave. He wants to go home, to his father. He takes off and finds his way to a rebel camp. Tarek is only half the size of the cool, bearded men with long hair, weapons, and PLO scarves, who listen to rebel music and are determined to fight. When Ghaydaa finally finds Tarek, at first it’s only her son’s stubbornness that compels her to stay there with him. But the mother’s relationship to her son changes with each day in the camp, and both of them can sense that a new dawn is breaking, not only in Jordan and Palestine. Lamma shoftak tells of a child’s ability to prevent adults from becoming resigned to their situation when hope for change still exists.


    Show All Awards Show Less Awards
    • NETPAC Prize- Berlin IFF
    • Prix SIGNIS, Audience Award - Amiens IFF
    • Best Arab Film - Abu Dhabi FF
    • Best Picture - Phoenix IFF
    • Best Actor, Unicef Award - Olympia IFF
    • Special Jury Prize - Oran Festival of Arab Cinema
    • Tunisian Film Critics Don Quixote Award - Carthage IFF
    • Palestinian submission for the Academy Awards


    Mahmoud Asfa
    Saleh Bakri
    Ruba Blal
    Firas Taybeh
    Ali Elayan


    When I Saw You is a tender, benign film although it clearly has a strong core of political anger. A sweet, wry humour and strong characterisations work in its favour, with Blal very impressive as the no-nonsense unsentimental young matriarch.

    Jonathan Romney, Screen Daily

    Annemarie Jacir

    Annemarie Jacir


    Growing up Palestinian, you know there is always another side of the story. There is a hidden side, something marginalized, something that we are not being told. So as a filmmaker I have learned to look for that. Being Palestinian has informed the way I approach all my stories, whether it has to do directly with Palestine or not. I learned at a young age to look for the other side of the story.

    Palestinian filmmaker Annemarie Jacir has written, directed and produced over sixteen films. Her films LIKE TWENTY IMPOSSIBLES and SALT OF THE SEA were selected in Cannes and WHEN I SAW YOU - in Berlin. Her latest film WAJIB premiered in Locarno Festival. Annemarie also teaches screenwriting, works as an editor and script consultant. Her latest TV series project MORNINGS IN JENIN was selected at Qumra 2021.

    Selected Filmography