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Pomegranates and Myrrh (2008) More at IMDbPro »Al-mor wa al rumman (original title)

Pomegranates and Myrrh -- A Palestinian prisoner's wife search for freedom


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Down 4% in popularity this week. See why on IMDbPro.
Najwa Najjar (writer)
View company contact information for Pomegranates and Myrrh on IMDbPro.
Release Date:
February 2009 (Germany) See more »
A free spirited Palestinian dancer becomes the wife of a prisoner. Full summary » | Add synopsis »
2 wins & 1 nomination See more »
User Reviews:
Beauty that just about steers clear of conventional expectation See more (1 total) »


  (in credits order)

Ali Suliman ... Kais
rest of cast listed alphabetically:

Hiam Abbass ... Umm Habib
Walid Abdul Salam ... Odeh
Ahmad Abu Sal'oum ... Abu Antar
Yosef Abu Wardeh ... Yosef
Valentina Abu-'Aksa ... Mariam
Manal Awad ... Ambar
Wardeh Dukwar ... Yasmine
Ashraf Farah ... Zaid
Wardeh Jubran ... Yasmine
Samia Kuzmoz ... Umm Zaid

Yasmine Al Massri ... Kamar (as Yasmine Massri)
Dorin Munawayyer ... Rasha
Hussein Nakleh ... Abu Saji
Lufuf Nuweiser ... Issa
Lea Tsmeal ... Leah

Directed by
Najwa Najjar 
Writing credits
(in alphabetical order)
Najwa Najjar  writer

Produced by
Marian Ehret .... line producer: Germany
Kamal El Kacimi .... co-producer
Daniel Gräbner .... co-producer
Robin Gutch .... co-producer
George Khleifi .... line producer
Hani E. Kort .... producer
Thierry Lenouvel .... co-producer
Meinolf Zurhorst .... commissioning editor
Original Music by
Mychael Danna 
Amritha Vaz  (as Amritha Fernandes Bakshi)
Cinematography by
Valentina Caniglia 
Film Editing by
Bettina Böhler 
Sotira Kyriacou 
Casting by
Salim Abu Jabal 
Makeup Department
Nicole Bonté .... key makeup artist
Hanna Eid .... hair designer
Mahmoud Qawasme .... hair dresser
Mohammad Kamis Tobal .... assistant makeup artist
Production Management
Nariman Musleh .... production manager
Second Unit Director or Assistant Director
Lina El Bukhari .... second assistant director
Fahad Falur Jabali .... first assistant director (as Fahad Jabali)
Art Department
Shadi Habib Allah .... property master
Yazan Khalili .... set dresser
Raed Shaltaf .... assistant art director
Sound Department
Raed Bashir .... boom operator
Thorsten Bolze .... sound recordist
Tilo Busch .... sound re-recording mixer
Michael Frenken .... foley recordist
Boris Goltz .... sound designer
Dieter Hebben .... foley artist
Issa J. Qumsyah .... additional sound
Matthias Saenger .... foley editor
Camera and Electrical Department
Valentina Caniglia .... camera operator
Mathieu Cauville .... second assistant camera
Nicola Guarneri .... gaffer
Shrouq Harb .... still photographer
Nadim Husari .... best boy
Johannes Mielsch .... first assistant camera
Richard Scholten .... key grip
Mohanad Yaqubi .... best boy
Mohanad Yaqubi .... electrician
Philippe Bellaiche .... additional photography (uncredited)
Casting Department
Hussein Nakhkleh .... extras casting
Costume and Wardrobe Department
Faten Asfour .... wardrobe consultant
Dema Abdul Hadi .... wardrobe dresser
Emile Kort .... materials for set and wardrobe
Widad Qawar .... wardrobe consultant
Editorial Department
Martin Becker .... colorist
Gabi Degener .... additional editing
Babette Gräbner .... assistant editor
Heike Kulhavy .... film lab manager
Stefan Müller .... film lab manager
Uwe Müller .... lab support
Antje Switalski .... second assistant editor
Location Management
Alaa Abu Radi .... location manager
Music Department
Brad Haehnel .... score mixer
Samir Joubran .... oud improvisation (as Samir Jubran)
Sana Moussa .... vocals
Other crew
Hassan Ben Gharbia .... choreography consultant
Itidal Abdel Ghani .... production coordinator
Murad Ismael .... assistant location
Sami Kamal .... film consulting
Abed Nassar .... accountant
Ariane Schneiders .... film accountant
Reem Shilleh .... script supervisor
Brandon Paine .... special thanks

Production Companies

Additional Details

Also Known As:
"Al-mor wa al rumman" - Occupied Palestinian Territory (original title)
See more »
95 min
Sound Mix:
Filming Locations:


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7 out of 7 people found the following review useful.
Beauty that just about steers clear of conventional expectation, 29 June 2009
Author: Chris_Docker from United Kingdom

The language of Palestine and Israel (and the latter is always part of the definition of the former) is locked in words. Not just different languages, but labels that classify each world in terms of the other's views, experiences, history, culture. The result is pain. And the very act of screening a Palestinian (or Israeli) film becomes a political act.

Escaping the tyranny of words, of narrow definitions, is one of the freedoms of dance. Especially dance not restricted to national forms. ("In every pomegranate there is one seed that comes from heaven." - old Arab proverb.) Says director Najwa Najjar, "I wanted a Palestinian story. A story different to what the world was used to seeing – simply a story of Palestinians trying to live ordinary lives under extraordinary circumstances, which has been (and continues to be) overlooked."

Zaid (an olive farmer) and Kamar (a dancer) have just got married. We witness the colourful celebrations. Two beautiful, intelligent people. The dialogue (or subtitling) is occasionally a bit clumpy, but on the whole it is a delight to witness the sophisticated festivities of a society with such captivatingly different customs to our own. Not that you or I can holiday there very easily. This is Ramallah. What follows next is largely anticipated – Palestinian cinema tends to focus on dispossession in the face of the Israelis – and is of interest for the degree to which it accomplishes this well and for the variations or new ideas the film additionally introduces. Zaid is soon taken into 'administrative detention' and attempts are made to confiscate their land. Kamar is torn between her duties as a wife and her love of the dance. This latter is complicated by the arrival of Kais, a choreographer returning to Palestine after a lifelong absence when his family were exiled to Lebanon in 1948. Kais has plenty to offer in the way of new steps and is seen by the amateur, traditional choreographer who heads the dance group as a threat to his status.

Pomegranates and Myrrh is the title of the dance performance for which the troupe rehearses. Although not explained, it is maybe interesting to note that pomegranates were eaten by souls in the underworld to bring about rebirth. Hellenic mythographers said both Kore and Eurydice were detained in the underworld because they ate pomegranate seeds there. Myrrh was traditionally an aphrodisiac.

There is a beautiful image of Kamar dancing at night. Her bare feet receive cuts from the hard ground. Ground which could so easily be taken from her.

For those uninterested in Middle East politics but just wanting a backdrop within which to enjoy the film on its own merits, Palestine has been an occupied territory since 1947. The Jews believe it is their promised land and that they have a right to live there, but so do Palestinian Arabs. In 1947, the then Palestine was divided into a Jewish state (which officially became Israel in 1948), and an Arab state that was shared between Egypt (the Gaza strip) and Jordan (the West Bank). Both the Arab territories were reclaimed by Israel in the Seven-day War of 1967 and since then the territories have been continually contested. The weight of history tends to be with the victors. But for anyone unfamiliar with the dynamics it is instructive enough and gives some substance to dry news reports of expansion of Jewish settlements.

Both Palestine and Israel are home to a wide spectrum of political and social beliefs. Many Israelis condemn the expansion of the territories (which is in breach of international law but generally ignored by the West). Many others champion the rights of Jews to live there. Some Palestinians are militarily opposed to infractions, some to the 1967 or 1947 occupations. Some just want a quiet life. Many, like Zaid and Kamar, don't think about it too much until it affects them. Why do we need to mention such things? Partly because the film doesn't manage to avoid or explain them, it merely documents. But since political questions will arise in the mind of the viewer, it is helpful to have a non-judgemental framework so you can squirrel them away and not let such thoughts dominate your enjoyment. The escape from such a politically dominated framework also formed part of Najwa Najjar's quest in making the film.

"The idea for the film started with the beginning of the second Palestinian Intifada. Witnessing the daily violence, humiliation, grinding poverty, curfews, movement controls, assassination attempts and the tit for tat suicide bombings . . . I needed to find a way to survive, to find hope in what seemed to be a hopeless situation . . . Yet in this search I was also confronted with barriers in a Palestinian society – those, which can hinder individual development, dreams and aspirations but none as challenging as those which force people to turn to lose themselves when despair, uncertainty and loss prevails."

Watching Palestinian films can be enervating. A fist beating on the wall of hopeless tears. So we have to find the song, the dance of the human spirit within. But there is also the danger that sorrow can burst into even less helpful avenues. "Pomegranates and Myrrh is in some ways a prediction of how a worsening political climate – and the consequent lack of hope, can directly affect the Palestinian daily life – pushing the society to further isolate itself and the individual to regress into conservative traditionalism and religion if there isn't hope, determination . . . a continuation for life." Najjar hopes to transcend the barriers of culture and language: "It is my hope that this story - told through the story of a woman, a love story, a story of dance and music, incorporating the events both internally and externally will evoke similar emotions and feelings in anyone confronting barriers blocking the achievement of his or her ambitions and dreams."

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