Synopsis

Coming soon to festivals!

This feature-length, sci-fi documentary shares multiple pasts, presents, and futures of the city of Lyd in Palestine/Israel. From the perspective of the city herself, voiced by Palestinian actress Maisa Abd Elhadi, the viewer is taken on a journey through the lifespan of a five-thousand-year-old city and its residents.

Lyd was once a thriving Palestinian city with a rich history. In 636AD, It was even considered the first capital of Palestine. When the State of Israel was founded in 1948, Lyd became an Israeli city, and in the process hundreds of Lyd’s Palestinian residents were massacred by Israeli forces and most of the city’s 50,000 Palestinian residents were sent into exile. Today, the city has a Jewish Israeli majority and a Palestinian minority and is disinvested and divided by racism and violence. For Palestinians, Lyd’s story is a painful and tragic fall from grace, which is why our film dares to ask the question: what would the city be like had the Israeli occupation of Lyd had never happened?

In the raspy voice of a diva, the city explains that the massacre and expulsion was so devastating that it fractured her reality, and now there are two Lyds –– one occupied and one free. As the film unfolds, documentary portions follow a chorus of characters through their daily lives, creating a tapestry of the Palestinian experience of this city, and the legacy of trauma that the massacre and expulsion left on Palestinian Lydians. However, LYD IN EXILE, also interrupts reality with dazzling animations that envision an alternate reality where the documentary’s characters live free from the trauma of the past and the violence of the present. As the film cuts between fantastical and documentary realities, it ultimately asks the viewer to consider which future could prevail for a city that has been at the center of conflict for the last century.