April 4-14, 2019

Synopsis

When she was a young lawyer, Kholoud Al-Faqih walked into the office of Palestine’s Chief Justice and announced she wanted to join the bench. He laughed at her. After all, historically religious courts in the Middle East had banned women from adjudicating domestic and family issues. But just a few years later, Kholoud challenged that long-standing history to become the first woman judge to be appointed to the Middle East’s Shari’a (Islamic law) courts.

With unparalleled access to the courts during her first few years as a judge, this verité documentary presents an unfolding legal drama with rare insight into both Islamic law and gendered justice, all the while highlighting Kholoud’s tenacious ability to maintain her position despite attempts to marginalize her. In the process, the film illuminates some of the universal conflicts in the domestic life of Palestine—custody of children, divorce, abuse—while offering an unvarnished portrait of Judge Kholoud’s brave journey as a lawyer and tireless advocate for women’s justice.

Screenings