Turbulent comedy about two Palestinian brothers who smuggle the dead body of their father from Jerusalem to Ramallah with the Israeli Police, a bunch of terrorists and the Russian Mafia breathing down their necks.
Asya is a conceptual artist living in Manhattan, active in ex-patriot Middle Eastern politics and fearful of arrest for pro-Palestinian sympathies. Israel is shelling Beirut, her brother is there seeking escape. She meets Javier, from Mexico. They go to nightclubs, embrace in hallways, and begin a relationship. One of Asya's friends, who is to be married, believes her fiancé has been kidnapped - a rendition. Others are careful what they say in public. Aysa's mother organizes pro-Arab activities. A cab driver tells Asya to drop Javier and be with him. She receives word from Beirut. Can a person pursue art and a relationship while the imperialists are still alive? Written by
Enough films have been made where the Middle-Eastern characters are portrayed either as sinister maniacs or down right primitives hell bent on disrupting the ways of the West. Forget the fact that they were very insulting- you'd hope most people watching them have enough intelligence to realise this. Worse was how lazy these films were. And indeed are! Which is just one of the reasons why Zeina Durra's film shines so brightly. I saw this film over a year ago at Sundance. Not only was it the strongest thing I saw at the festival, it was one of the most original films to come out of independent cinema in the US for a while. It focuses primarily on characters from the Middle-East but not like the ones we've previously had the misfortune of seeing on our cinema screens. These characters live, party, dream, worry and embarrass themselves just like the rest of us. Durra shows us their interactions with great poise and knowledge. The result being a very funny and intelligent film. The casting in a film such as this is crucial and the director has got it pretty much spot on. An important note- this is Durra's debut feature film and in my humble opinion signals the start of a promising and original career.
3 of 6 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?