Directed by Rami Younis and Sarah Ema Friedland

79 minutes / Color
Arabic; Hebrew / English subtitles
Release: 2024
Copyright: 2023

The film Lyd (the Arabic name of Lod, a city now in Israel) is about a 5,000-year-old bustling Palestinian town that was conquered when the State of Israel was established in 1948, and the film Lyd is the story of that city’s rise and fall. An exploration of what it once was, and what it is now, in the context of the continuing conflicts and the war in Gaza, Lyd’s excavation of one community’s complex history offers us not only lessons but possible futures.

As the film unfolds, a chorus of characters creates a tapestry of the Palestinian experience of this city and the trauma left by the massacre and expulsion, while vivid animations envision an alternate reality where the same characters live free from the trauma of the past and the violence of the present. Using never-before-seen archival footage of the Israeli soldiers who carried out the massacre and expulsion, the personified city explains that these events were so devastating that they fractured reality, and now there are two Lyds — one occupied and one free. As the film cuts between fantastical and documentary realities, it ultimately leaves the viewer questioning what future should prevail.

Made by a Palestinian from Lyd and a Jewish American, Lyd provides much-needed context for this moment, as it goes deep into the history of the Nakba from the perspective of Palestinians who survived. The film imagines an alternate reality where Palestine was never occupied and Palestinians of all religions (Muslims, Christians, and Jews) live in a liberated Palestine. Narrated by Palestinian actress Maisa Abd Elhadi who personifies the city, the viewer is guided through the lifespan of a five-thousand-year-old city and its residents.

“This film is an important document of time and should be screened widely. What makes Lyd stand out from other documentaries on this topic is the way the filmmakers audaciously weave together different forms of storytelling.” —International Federation of Film Critics

“Ambitiously tackling perhaps the most controversial geopolitical issue in the world, and doing so in under 80 minutes, the filmmakers offer a provocative cri de coeur for a free Palestine. A difficult and unflinching film, but also as hopeful as one could be in the current climate.” –POV Magazine

“A stunning movie that changes how we understand the past and gives us a way to imagine a radically different future… a must-see film.” –Amahl Bishara, Associate Professor, Anthropology, Tufts University

“A cinematic achievement that breaks down the wide divide between documentary and science fiction.” —The National

“It is the perfect time for a film like Lyd, a work that draws a clear line between the sins of the past and our present reality and vociferously argues why contextualizing the present within that broader history is crucial in determining the future.” —Disappointment Media

“The story of Lyd is the story of Palestine. The film that bears its name confronts the horrors of what is, without losing sight of what could be—a vital exercise in political imagination.” —Arielle Angel, Editor-in-chief of Jewish Currents

“An eye-opening documentary that every thinking person with a respect for all humanity must see.” —It's Just Movies

Never loses sight of these slippery questions about what is, and what could be, achieved through the power of our collective imagination.” —In Review Online

“Lyd is a haunting and unusual documentary, comprising various styles to tell the story of the once beautiful ancient city of Lyd and its gradual devastation under Israeli settlement.” —City Hub (Australia)

“It is a harrowing watch, but a vital one if the goal is gaining greater understanding the history of Israel-Palestine conflict.” —ScreenHub (Australia)

“LYD is a poignant, compellingly speculative film: part documentary, part visionary fiction, it is the memoir of a city ruptured by occupation, time skipping between possible futures and pasts. LYD offers a deep political education through eyewitness accounts, and personal stories, and an unwavering look into the heart of empire and the ongoing project of settler colonization. A must-see!” —Autumn Brown, Co-Host, How to Survive the End of the World

Ways to Watch

Colleges, Universities, Government Agencies, Hospitals, and Corporations

Purchase DVD for $348.00

Select Accolades

  • Jury Award for Arab Feature-Length Documentary and FIPRESCI Award from the Film Critics Association, Amman International Film Festival 2023
  • Middle East Now Festival 2023
  • Yashwant International Film Festival 2024
  • Reel Palestine 2024
  • Melbourne Science Fiction Film Festival 2024
  • Al Ard Film Festival 2024
  • Sguardi Altrove International Women’s Film Festival 2024
  • Palestine Film Festival in Australia 2024


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