Synopsis by Mark Deming
In 1969, Leila Khaled became an underground hero to political militants when she became the first woman to successfully hijack an airplane. Born in Palestine in 1944, Khaled and her family were forced to flee to Lebanon when violence broke out between Arabs and Zionists, and as a teenager she became a member of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PLFP). On August 29, 1969, Khaled was one of a handful of PLFP members who took over a TWA flight traveling from Rome to Athens, demanding they fly to Damascus instead. Khaled and her comrades were able to escape when the flight landed, and on September 6, 1970, she took part in another PLFP hijacking, seizing an El Al flight from Amsterdam to New York City, which took place at the same time as three other PLFP hijackings organized as part of the Black September uprisings. Khaled was captured by air marshals as the flight was rerouted to London. Lina Makboul is a filmmaker and journalist of Palestinian heritage who grew up idolizing the fearless radical Khaled, and in 2005 they met when Khaled, now a member of the Palestinian Nation Council living in Jordan, agreed to be interviewed for a documentary about her life. Leila Khaled, Hijacker is a film which examines Khaled's early years as a political firebrand and reveals a woman who still holds firm to her principles even if her embrace of violence and hijacking as tools of change has faded. Leila Khaled, Hijacker was screened in competition at the 2007 Full Frame Documentary Film Festival.
archival-footage, cultural-identity, freedom-fighter, hijacker, legacy, Palestinian [nationality], terrorism