Youssef, a twelve-year-old Palestinian boy falls in love with Aïda, a young girl and leader of a children’s gang. Khleifi’s enchanting fairy-tale is set in the Gaza Strip in the early 1990s, during the turbulent days of the Israeli occupation.
Youssef, a twelve-year-old Palestinian boy, is a child of the Intifada. He lives with his mother, with his father in prison and his brother wanted by the Israeli army. Although his life is marked by violence and oppression, Youssef uses his imagination to escape the bleak reality of the refugee camp in which he lives. One day, while hunting birds, he meets the beautiful Aïda, a young girl and leader of a children’s gang. Youssef falls in love, to marry Aïda, however, he has to find the three lost diamonds from an old family jewel brought by the girl’s grandfather from South America. How will Youssef manage to leave Gaza and travel to this distant continent? Tale of the Three Jewels is a modern fairy tale alternating with scenes depicting the daily reality of life in Gaza under occupation: poverty, violence, imprisonment, limited possibilities and despair. The dreamlike film shows the sadness of a lost childhood and indicates the necessity of restoring Gaza’s children right to dream.
Tale of the Three Jewels is the first feature film to be shot entirely in Gaza. The cast includes well-known Palestinian actors such as Makram Khouri and Mohammad Bakri. In 1995 the film was selected for the Cannes Film Festival.