It’s 2001 and Qays and Layla are in the West Bank going to university. He’s studying literature, she engineering – but they are most of all involved with each other. Then the tides of tradition and Middle Eastern politics force both to return to their home in the Gaza Strip. In that more traditional environment Qays has to take a building site job, whilst Layla retreats to the family home, where her father guards her honour. The heart-broken Qays begins to paint verses from the classical poem Majnun Layla all over town, an act of defiance, but also an expression of a love appropriated from one of Arabic literature’s classic poems. The first feature film made in the Gaza strip for over 15 years, Habibi is a lyrical story of love defying difficult political circumstances.
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