5 user 30 critic

When Pigs Have Wings (2011)

After a tempest, fishermen do not find only fish in their nets. That is what happens to Jafaar, a poor fisherman who lives poorly in Gaza. And what he hauls in is really upsetting : imagine... See full summary »


Sylvain Estibal


Sylvain Estibal (screenplay)
3 wins & 3 nominations. See more awards »




Cast overview, first billed only:
Sasson Gabai ... Jafaar (as Sasson Gabay)
Baya Belal Baya Belal ... Fatima
Myriam Tekaïa Myriam Tekaïa ... Yelena
Gassan Abbas Gassan Abbas ... Barber
Khalifa Natour ... Hussein
Lotfi Abdelli Lotfi Abdelli ... Young Policeman
Ulrich Tukur ... Officer U.N.
Khaled Riani Khaled Riani ... Salesman
Uri Gabay Uri Gabay ... Netsah
Ido Shaked Ido Shaked ... Soldier Terrasse 1
Thierry Lopez Thierry Lopez ... Soldier Terrasse 2
Zohar Wexler Zohar Wexler ... Colony Soldier
Maurad Saad ... Jihad Cameraman
Khereddine Ennasri Khereddine Ennasri ... Jihadist 3
David Leguesse David Leguesse ... Jihadist 2


After a tempest, fishermen do not find only fish in their nets. That is what happens to Jafaar, a poor fisherman who lives poorly in Gaza. And what he hauls in is really upsetting : imagine that, a pig! An unclean animal judged impure not only by the Faith of Islam but also by the Jewish religion. Determined to get rid of the animal, Jafaar tries desperately to sell it, first to a United Nations official, then to a Jewish colony where Yelena raises pigs not for their meat but for security reasons. Of course, going unnoticed in the company of a "forbidden" animal, among his Palestinian brothers, past Israeli soldiers and under the scrutiny of Islamic fundamentalists is no bed of roses and a series of misadventures await Jafaar.... Written by Guy Bellinger

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis




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France | Germany | Belgium


English | Arabic | Hebrew

Release Date:

21 September 2011 (France) See more »

Also Known As:

Cuando los chanchos vuelen See more »


Box Office


€4,574,488 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Sound Mix:

Dolby SR



Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


Contrary to popular opinion, a pig is not "a filthy animal" in Islam. It is forbidden to eat pigs, but that's the extent of it. It's not forbidden to touch, feed, or even raise them. In fact Turkey, a Muslim-majority country, has many pig farms. See more »


Slim, the barber: You are armed, not the pig!
See more »


Referenced in At the Movies: Cannes Film Festival 2011 (2011) See more »

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User Reviews

Modern fairy tales always take place in Israel and the occupied territories
24 February 2013 | by Karl SelfSee all my reviews

The fishermen of Gaza aren't allowed to sail to the high seas and therefore hardly land anything. Especially Jafaar, a likable chap, who returns to port with two sardines (and two single sandals), when his colleagues at least catch something they can sell on the market. Jafaar is like Chaplin's Little Tramp, a likable loser who never stops trying and never loses hope. Then, one day, he lands a big catch: a living pig! However, as a Muslim he can't eat it himself, he fails to sell it to a UN official (the only Christian he knows), and the Jews won't buy it either. Then he finds a Russian girl in a Jewish settlement (in this movie, there are still Jewish settlements in Gaza) who is at least willing to enter into a limited business agreement with Jafaar ...

There is a veritable industry churning out movies about the Middle East conflict. The stories are usually modern fairy tales, probably in order to address the absurd reality without hurting anyone, and all characters are charming and full of human weaknesses. Israeli soldiers are usually gruff on the outside (the movie is critical!), but when you get to know them they're just ordinary chaps who watch Telenovelas just like everybody else (the movie is balanced and by no means antisemitic!).

I thought that the plot was too thin to sustain a 90-minute film. The actors were excellent and made the most out of it, but overall I didn't learn anything new about the Israeli-Palestinian-conflict -- or in fact, anything at all. The sweltering conflict would warrant a movie which gives us a new perspective even at the cost of balance, rather than putting us to bed with a fairy tale on the strength of human nature.

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