A Thousand Fires

a film by

France, Switzerland, Netherlands, Palestine | 90' | 08/2021 | documentary

In the Magway region of Myanmar, a country home to one of the oldest petroleum industries in the world, live husband and wife Thein Shwe and Htwe Tin. Running an unregulated oil field, they produce a barrel every few days. They wish above all else to see their youngest son succeed, to break the cycle of poverty. A kettle boils. Mud slicked hands work sputtering machines. The ambient sound of a football match hums from a nearby television. “These days passed quickly”, Htwe says.

From Palestinian-British filmmaker Saeed Taji Farouky, A Thousand Fires is a portrait of a family in flux, and a story of intergenerational conflict and compromise. It is a film of transient moments; of hopes and aspirations; of faith in the forces of karma and luck; of a place, a community, and the rhythms of a day to day; of lingering memories and a turbulent past; and of life persisting, regardless.

“a cinematic masterpiece, quiet and powerful at once”
Square Eyes - Screenshot 2021-08-03 at 15.14.24
Square Eyes - Laurel_IDFA International Competition 2021_black
“a cinematic masterpiece, quiet and powerful at once”
Square Eyes - Screenshot 2021-08-03 at 15.14.24
Square Eyes - Laurel_IDFA International Competition 2021_black

Saeed Taji Farouky


Saeed Taji Farouky is a Palestinian-British filmmaker and radical film educator whose work deals with themes of conflict, human rights, and colonialism. His 2015 documentary, Tell Spring Not to Come This Year, premiered at Berlinale 2015 where it won 2 awards.


2018 Strange Cities Are Familiar
2016 They Live in Forests, They Are Extremely Shy
2015 Tell Spring Not to Come This Year
2013 There Will Be Some Who Will Not Fear Even That Void
2013 The Runner
2005 I See the Stars at Noon

Square Eyes -


Director: Saeed Taji Farouky
Producer: Estelle Robin You
Co-producer: Palmyre Badinier, Joram Willink, May Odeh
Cinematography: Saeed Taji Farouky
Editing: Catherine Rascon
Sound: Maxence Ciekawy
Sound Designer: James Bulley
Music: Fatima Dunn


  • Locarno Film Festival, Switzerland (4 – 14 August, 2021)
    Semaine de la Critique – Opening Film Won: Marco Zucchi Award
  • International Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam, the Netherlands (17 – 28 November, 2021)
    Main Competition
  • FIPADOC – International Documentary Festival, France (17 – 23 January, 2022)
    International Competition
  • First Look – Museum of the Moving Image, United States (16 – 20 March, 2022)
    Official Selection


Press Materials

EPK: Click here

Stills, poster & director’s photo: Click here

Dialogue list English: Click here

Downloadable trailer: Click here

Excerpts & Trailer: Click here


Press Quotes

“A masterpiece of tone and ambiance, as well a luminous portrait of one family, Farouky’s film is as elegantly constructed as a symphony.”
Review – Dorothy Woodend The Tyee 

“A beguiling, epic portrait of a family in flux.”
Review – Leonardo Goi – The Film Stage

A Thousand Fires […] has unending belief in human perseverance against the odds.”
Review – Carmen Paddock – One Room With A View

“The first image in A Thousand Fires […] is among the most epic of any film this year.”
Review – Vladan Petkovic – Cineuropa

“A cinematic masterpiece, quiet and powerful at once.”
Interview – E. Nina Rothe – Moving Image Middle East

“A bewitchingly intimate slice-of-life documentary”
Review – Arun Kumar – High On Films

“A very humane documentary as it treats its subjects with great tact and respect. The central themes of hope and resilience emerge clearly and are sufficiently developed, supported by an excellent display of technical skills.”
Review – Davide Abbatescianni – FilmExplorer

“[…] if the emotional heartbeat of the film is found within a family in flux, the divisive and at times corrupt economics of oil provides the documentary’s editorial propulsion.”
Interview – Nick Cunningham – Business Doc Europe