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// Films // Leila Khaled: Hijacker

Leila Khaled: Hijacker

Lina Makboul / Sweden / 2005 / 58 ' / Swedish / S.T. English


Andreas Jonsson
Jallo Faber & Åke Wehrling
Robert Danielsson & Marcos Hellberg
Swedish Television
Nederland’s NPS

Awards & Festivals

2006 Winner, Tempo Film Festival Stockholm
Lena Hellman Memorial Fund Award 2007 Winner
Tri Continental Film Festival, Grand Jury Award 2007 Winner
Full Frame Documentary Film Festival, Full Frame Spectrum Award 2007 Winner, Nöjesguiden, Best Film

Upcoming Screenings

Stay tuned for upcoming screenings!

In Production

A Palestinian female hijacker challenges our assumptions about those who resort to violent means in response to oppression.


In 1969 Palestinian Leila Khaled made history by becoming the first woman to hijack an airplane.

As a Palestinian child growing up in Sweden, filmmaker Lina Makboul admired Khaled for her bold actions; as an adult, she began asking complex questions about the legacy created by her childhood hero. This fascinating documentary is at once a portrait of Khaled, an exploration of the filmmaker’s own understanding of her Palestinian identity, and a complicated examination of the nebulous dichotomy between "terrorist" and "freedom fighter." When Makboul tracks Khaled down, she finds Khaled living an ordinary life in Jordan, still firm in her belief that her actions were necessary and fully justified.

The film weaves together scenes with Khaled, archival footage, and interviews with the people who were on the planes Khaled hijacked. Makboul searches for a way to reconcile her understanding of the Palestinian national narrative - which now includes Khaled’s actions - with the negative image she encounters from the rest of the world of Palestinians as bloodthirsty terrorists. At the same time, she comes to know Khaled for the very real person that she is as they talk, travel together, and share meals. The result is a multi-dimensional film unlike any other in its skillful handling of the complexities that arise when liberation movements incorporate violence as a tactic.


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