Docpoint – Helsinki Documentary Film Festival


Three Promises

An adult son finds home videos shot by his mother. The image is grainy and cosy, as it is in early 2000s video cameras. There are holidays and visits to relatives, home video material that could be from nearly anywhere in the world. 

But then there are things that the son had completely forgotten: His father reading aloud Chamber of Secrets so that the children could forget about the bombings for a moment. The children comparing shell casings and bomb fragments that they found outside. The whole family hiding under the stairs from the strikes sneaking nearer. 

Three Promises is a mother and son’s journey to the past. In September 2000, Palestinians began an uprising against the Israeli occupation, the so-called Second Intifada. Israel responded with force. From the home videos, war is revealed through the eyes of a single Palestinian family. We travel through time to director Yousef Srouji’s childhood in the war – or as his mother narrates, the end of his childhood.

Srouji’s debut feature was completed before the current war in Gaza began, and it ends in a hopeful note. Now, that seems like a utopia.

Sanni Myllyaho (translated by Inari Ylinen)

Yousef Srouji has unfortunately had to cancel his visit to the festival due to the air traffic strike.

Language: Arabic
Subtitles: English for the deaf and hard of hearing
Length: 61 min
Age Limit: K12
Year: 2023
Production Country: Palestine, United States, Lebanon

Director: Yousef Srouji
Producer: Marielle Olentine
Production Company: Suha Documentary, LLC
Editing: Mahdokht Mahmoudabadi
Cinematographer: Suha Khamis, Mashal Kawasmi
Music: Ghiya Rushidat