Ibrahim: A Fate To Define  ‘TIFF’ Review: Was it a storm or was it an axe that brought the tree down?
“The world was whole before we walked over it. Now it’s a fraction, with its variable denominator tending to infinity with each wall we build.” I originally wrote this quote in my attempt to dissect CHECHE LAVI [LOOKING FOR LIFE] , another documentary focusing on the refugee crisis evolving from the Haiti earthquake. While ‘Ibrahim: A Fate To Define (Lina Al Abed)’ is an investigative documentary on a completely different issue, it coincides with Cheche Lavi when it tries to expose the idiocy of our times. When Cheche Lavi does it implicitly, Ibrahim goes unabashed in some sequences but retains the hold of its original motive.
Ibrahim documents the efforts of a daughter, Lina Al Abed, who is trying to unravel the mystery around his father, Ibrahim Al Abed’s disappearance who left behind a wife and five children including her when she was six. A man who never appeared anything more than an ordinary Palestinian trying to get by in the capital city of Syria, Damascus, Ibrahim was also a secret member of the Abu Nidal Group, a.k.a. the Revolutionary Council, a militant Palestinian splinter faction working for the liberation of Palestine.
Lina has braved herself to ask tough questions and to be able to hear absolutely anything in return. She hasn’t created any boundary to the harshness she is ready to engulf for the world is marred enough with boundaries already.
The journey asks for your submission. It calls for your involvement. You must think for a moment, what if, you were her or how privileged you are to not be her. And then you may share the helplessness and vexation which arises from a condition such as this.
There are different questions for different people. The quest to establish the true state of facts around the disappearance soon converts into an exploration of the man and the causes for which he seemingly died.
The heart of this documentary lies in the conundrums it treads on and yet, how focused it remains to its subject. It succeeds at not muddling itself into the complexities, the political outlook, and the bigger questions which can be derived from the smaller ones.
Ibrahim is mostly a personal account which is neither entertaining nor self-explanatory. It fails to trace all the vectors of the perpetuating ills of the conflict and the events took place in its shadow. But it never sought to, in the first hand. All it wanted to trace was a story which is unasked, unheard, and uncared for.
At the same time, I believe the cinematography could have been stronger. Some of the frames are not comfortable to the eyes. The music works wonders, beautifully complementing the environment on the other side of the lens. It is another treat to listen to some of the conversations as people come out comfortable, and at ease to share and discuss. The journey also uncovers some important aspects of our fundamental story in its course as people share without a hint of diplomacy or bitterness.
Ibrahim: A Fate To Define crafts an informative tale to confront the origins of nationalism, identity, and the struggles of the young ones who are challenged by the accident of their birth. You might not receive a universal definition for Ibrahim’s fate but what you will always know that Ibrahim wasn’t the only one and will never be.