To a Land Unknown 2024

Directed by Mahdi Fleifel Fresh

This urgent, vibrant and incredibly topical debut feature from Palestinian filmmaker Mahdi Fleifel follows two refugee cousins stranded in Athens as they strive to hustle and scam their way to a new life in Germany.

Aug 10

Hollywood Avondale

Palestine In Arabic, English and Greek with English subtitles
105 minutes Colour / DCP
Violence, offensive language, drug use & sexual material



Geoff Arbourne, Mahdi Fleifel


Mahdi Fleifel
Fyzal Boulifa
Jason McColgan


Thodoros Mihopoulos


Halim Sabbagh

Production Designer

Ioanna Soulele

Costume Designer

Konstantina Mardiki


Nadah El Shazly


Mahmood Bakri
Aram Sabbagh
Angeliki Papoulia
Mohammad Alsurafa
Mouataz Alshalton


Cannes (Directors’ Fortnight) 2024


Chatila and Reda are Palestinian cousins stranded in Athens. They left their families in a refugee camp in Lebanon and now lead the clandestine life of illegal immigrants. They will play any trick, from bag-snatching to sex work, to save enough money to get to Germany, the “real Europe”.  

The resolute Chatila (played with astonishing conviction by Mahmood Bakri) dreams of opening a café and is determined to make it happen, while Reda (sensitively portrayed by Aram Sabbah) is on the precipice of succumbing to drug addiction. Their plans of escape involve ploys that keep raising stakes and increasingly get their hands dirty.  

With his first narrative feature To a Land Unknown, Palestinian-Danish filmmaker Mahdi Fleifel delivers a rough and gripping update on Midnight Cowboy, centered on a chiaroscuro portrait of survival at the margins of society. His characters’ parable powerfully captures the plight of Palestinians, in constant search of a land to belong to, never at home anywhere. Thanks to its true-to-life approach, its vigorous mise en scène and and its terrific performances, To a Land Unknown accomplishes a lot without being preachy. One of the year’s must-see debuts. —Paolo Bertolin

To a Land Unknown is a film crafted with tremendous empathy… It follows in the footsteps of the likes of Italian neorealist classic Bicycle Thieves in prioritizing the humanity of its leads, but in a sense it goes harder, testing the viewer’s ability to stay on Chatila and Reda’s side through an escalation in stakes as the script gradually ramps up the seriousness of the crimes they commit in their efforts to secure the normal lives for themselves that most viewers take for granted. The difficulty of hanging onto your humanity when you are not being treated humanely is a core concern, expressed here with appealing spirit and fire.” — Catherine Bray, Variety