Occupation and the Road Not Traveled in “Habibi Rasak Kharban” (2011)

By Alya Osman – In adapting the twelfth-century story Layla and Majnun, Susan Youssef’s 2011 film Habibi Rasak Kharban re-imagines the Arabic folk tale in the context of Israeli occupation of Palestine, wherein the significance of journeys arises primarily from those not taken. Placing Youssef’s film in conversation with Nizami’s original poem (composed in 1118), this article examines Youssef’s representation of literal and figurative journeys, focusing on the role of nature, mobility, stigma,notions of displacement and encounters with the ‘Other,’ and. Subsequently, I argue…