After the Palestine Liberation Organization withdrew from Beirut as a result of Israel’s 1982 invasion of Lebanon, the most significant Palestinian film archive, comprising more than 100 documentaries, was nowhere to be found. This article examines Kings and Extras: Digging for a Palestinian Image (dir. Azza El-Hassan, 2004), a documentary that ostensibly chronicles the director’s search for the archive, but ultimately explores Palestinians’ recurrent efforts to narrate and visualize their historical reality in the face of archival appropriation and destruction. As El-Hassan travels between Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, and occupied Palestine, her journey becomes a quest for Palestinian freedom dreams, generating its own, living archive, uniquely Palestinian in its unauthorized, stateless, and itinerant form. Engaging Palestinian archival imaginaries alongside decolonial feminist critiques of positivist historiography, I propose “reparative fabulation” as an act of the radical narrative imagination that animates unrealized political potentialities glimpsed in the gaps endemic to violated archives.

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