Nuns of the 'Sisters of Mercy' convent in the middle of the West Bank wilderness have their daily routine of silence and prayer disrupted when a family of religious Israeli settlers crash their car into the convent's wall. The Sabbath is approaching and they need to get home urgently, however, because of the Sabbath laws, the Israelis can't operate a phone to call for assistance, and the Nuns have taken a vow of silence. Together they have to come up with an unorthodox plan to help them get home.
France's Oscar-nominated short film Ave Maria is a screwball comedy of sorts, with its main idea revolving around religious tolerance and a desire for conflicting theologians to come together and realize the common good of reaching a goal. Revolving around a group of Israelis that break down in Palestine, Ave Maria depicts contemporary Israel/Palestine relations by having the gang of individuals look for assistance from five nuns.
As one can predict, comedic circumstances do ensue, particularly when the Palestinians are hesitant to even let the Israelis use their telephone. However, once they realize that they can do more by helping the innocent people of Israel rather than further hurting or tormenting them, some cooperation begins to occur. The unsubtle themes of Ave Maria almost effectively undermine the entire film, despite its mildly amusing comedic setup and its strong, albeit flaccid, core theme that emphasizes togetherness rather than further separation. The entire short is quietly entertaining, but questionably Oscar worthy.
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