A family of five, their two goats and donkey live in the middle of nowhere far from their village home. They earn meager living by producing & selling charcoal, made from the surrounding ... See full summary »
A family of five, their two goats and donkey live in the middle of nowhere far from their village home. They earn meager living by producing & selling charcoal, made from the surrounding trees. The father and son are the only ones who ever return to their native village. The Mother & two daughters have not left this place since the day they abandoned home, 10 years ago. One day the father decides to provide running water for the family by illegally diverting water onto their land. The three women recoil from the idea but the teenage son obeys submissively anything to be allowed to continue attending school. The water surging through the pipe parallels the surging resentment the family feels towards the father. He brought them to this place against their will and they know the reason they left their home is also the reason they can never return, but the newly free-flowing water on their land re-awakens the instinctive desire for freedom they have been repressing all these years. Written by
A Palestinian patriarch has moved his wife, son and two daughters to an abandoned settlement (former Israeli military outpost?) in a desolate valley, where they survive by (illegally) cutting down trees and burning them to charcoal, which they sell. The patriarch has sought this isolation, at least in part, to escape from the public shame brought about by his older daughter's "disgrace" (rape?) years earlier. The family's bleak existence is made far worse by the father's obsessive, brutal and dictatorial character.
To accept the premises of the film, you are required to suspend credibility. How could these people avoid discovery when they build huge fires at night in an area patrolled by the Israeli Army? Why would any of the family members tolerate the patriarch's abuses? But the largest question posed by this film, in my opinion, goes beyond the issue of plot credibility: Why was it made? The fact that the director is Palestinian does not prove that this film is anything other than it seems: an Israel-sponsored hatchet job, intended to reinforce stereotyped notions of Palestinians as brutal, uncivilized and incapable of self-government. "Atash" ("thirst") should make you thirst for an honest, realistic film about contemporary Palestinian life and Israeli oppression.
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