My Paper Life

Ma vie en papier

  • Vida Dena
  • Belgium, France
  • 2022
  • 78 min
  • Dutch Premiere
  • Best of Fests

Iranian filmmaker Vida Dena joins a drawing course and meets Naseem, a Syrian who has fled to Brussels with his family. She decides to film them, and brings to life the drawings they make together in simple but powerful animations accompanied by music from fellow Syrian refugee, artist Noma Omran.

Drawing has become a way of processing the trauma of war within the walls of the family’s dilapidated apartment. Dena zooms in on Hala and Rima, the two teenage daughters whose feelings and stories are depicted in the animations through their cutout drawings.

With war and destruction in the past, space gradually grows for building something new. A fifth child is born, Rima gets engaged, and the camera takes tentative steps outside their cramped home for the first time. But new setbacks are still to come in this intimate, award-winning (Visions du Réel) portrait of an immigrant family detached from time and place, trying to find meaning in a new context.


  • 78 min
  • color
  • DCP
  • Spoken languages: French, Arabic, Farsi
  • Subtitles in: English
Vida Dena
Hanne Phlypo for Clin d'Oeil films
Eugénie Michel-Villette for Les Films du Bilboquet, Ellen Meiresonne for Atelier Graphoui, Anna van der Wee for Wild Heart Productions
Vida Dena
Lenka Fillnerova, Fréderic Fichefet, Sophie Vercruysse

IDFA history

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