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2012, Documentary, HD, 70min, German / Arabic with English subtitles

Full film available upon request. Please contact


When I was 12 years old, my father left us to return to Palestine. His dream to build a house and pursue the fight for freedom in Palestine failed. He was expelled by the Israelis. Suddenly, he was back in Berlin, ringing at our front door. My mother looked at him, did not say a word and let him in. Now he spends his days sitting in the basement of our small terraced house. Withdrawn in his turtle shell. My mother lives upstairs. They don’t fight anymore. They try not to cross each other ́s paths. Not a sound is to be heard. Only the creaking steps of my mother on the stairs. The humming of the television. And my nagging questions to my father. The Turtle ́s Rage tells the story of a mysterious man, whose life has been molded by flight, expulsion, life in exile and the failed return to Palestine. A torn biography. The film is composed of a daughter’s search for answers from her father. Answers he cannot give. A road movie crossing Egypt, Palestine and Jordan. Father and daughter: Fighting at the airport. Singing with the cab drivers. Lonely nights in hotels. Negotiations at abandoned gas stations. Drinking beer in the Naqab-desert. A story traversed by many nuances, which makes it nearly impossible to think in categories like good and bad, victim and offender or black and white.


Jury Statements

"A film of great clarity, born of an urgent emotional necessity, it draws the viewer right into the heart of the trauma of displacement. Every frame contributes to the reconstruction of a torn relationship in front of the eye of the camera. In the confrontation between the filmmaker and her troubled father, between the dream of a homeland and the reality of a journey, emerges a story of tenderness and impossibility. Throughout the week the filmmaker´s pertinence and impertinence of the filmmaker has stayed with us. The winning film is equally remarkable for the aptness of its title.“

Jury of the Award Regard Neuf, Vision du Réel 2012

"A tragicomedy, in layered and intelligent dialogue, of a daughter´s attempt to understand her father, The Turtle´s Rage is also a formally sophisticated and carefully constructed film that follows the various stages and consequences of the father´s displacement (in space, in language, in time, no less than within the terms of the family drama and of the trauma of the Palestinian people). The emotional and psychological richness of the film, and also its political force, come from the filmmaker´s lucidity about, and complicity with, a struggle (that of her father, and also, by implication, that of a certain group of Palestinians in exile) that has become diverted from its original meaning and purpose to become no longer a struggle against placenessness and estrangement, but the struggle to sustain a way of life that is premised on placenessness and estrangement."

Jury of the Muhr Arab Documentary Competition, Dubai International Film Festival 2012



The film "The Turtle´s Rage" of Pary El-Qalqili is a quest for understanding the identity of a Palestinian that happens to be the director's father. The film stays away from mere political statements, no matter Pary's father has a rebelious point of view in face of the facts that shaped Palestine's fate and his own. The film portrays a paradox: the helplessness in face of Israeli occupation and the thirst for fighting injustice an oblivion. At moments hilarious, the film also conveys a universal message: the harships of inter-generational communication.

Jury of the Al Jazeera Golden Award 2013

Director's Statement


2014 Best Director I The Turtle´s Rage I Europe-Orient Documentary Festival Assilah, Morocco

2013 Special Jury Award I The Turtle´s Rage I Euganea Film Festival 2013, Italy

2013 Al Jazeera Golden Award I The Turtle´s Rage I Al Jazeera Documentary Festival, Qatar

2012 Newcomer Award I The Turtle´s Rage I Duisburg Filmweek, Germany

2012 Audience Award I The Turtle´s Rage I Duisburg Filmweek, Germany

2012 Best Film Muhr Arab Documentary Competition I The Turtle´s Rage I Dubai International Film Festival, V.A.E

2012 Best Documentary I The Turtle´s Rage I Asiaticafilmmediale Rom, Italy

2012 Regard Neuf I Newcomer Award I The Turtle´s Rage I Visions du Réel, Switzerland



Musa El-Qalqili

Sibylle El-Qalqili

Pary El-Qalqili

Maliha Abu Jaber

Miriam El-Qalqili

Salem El-Qalqili

Um Massad

Nasser El-Qalqili


Silvia Wolkan

Writer / Director

Pary El-Qalqili


Aline László


Ulrike Tortora

Sound Engineering

Franziska van Malsen


Sound Design

Jörg Elsner

Sound Mixing

Florian Schneeweiß

Line Producer

Alexander Krötsch


Kaissar Film

A Kaissar Film Production in Co-Production with Arte / BR and the University of Television and Film Munich


Interview and Discussion


Diskussionsprotokoll der Duisburger Filmwoche 2012

...In diesem Fall war Wut der Auslöser den Film zu machen – die Wut des eigenen Vaters, weil er seine Geschichte nicht erzählen kann, weil sie in Deutschland nicht verstanden wird, weil die Tochter schwarze Löcher in seinem Narrativ berührt. El-Qalqili will mehr als Wut und Ohnmacht, sie will ihren Vater kennenlernen, Antworten auf ihre Fragen finden. Also begibt sie sich in direkte Konfrontation und schafft Räume für Gespräche, die filmisch sehr eng und gelungen mit der Geschichte eines Mannes im Exil verwoben sind. Der erste filmische Kontakt hat auf einer gemeinsamen Reise nach Palästina stattgefunden. Das Projekt war zu dem Zeitpunkt noch ein anderes, ein Film über die Biographie ihres Vaters. Erst dort habe sie bemerkt, dass es nicht nur um ihn, sondern auch um sie gehen muss – es geht um etwas, was die beiden zu verhandeln haben... (read more)

Boston Palestine Film Festival 2019

‘I Wanted to Understand Why this Dream of Palestine Was So Big For Him’
In her first feature documentary, Palestinian-German filmmaker Pary El-Qalqili is determined to break down the walls her estranged Palestinian father has built up over his many years in exile. Shot over the course of one year in Germany and Palestine, this tender and sorrowful film shows El-Qalqili trying to understand her father’s anger and isolation as a displaced foreigner in a land that is not his own... (read more)

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