Directed by Saverio Costanzo
Starring Mohammed Bakri, Lior Miller
Family at war.
This is a film about conflict, the conflict between Israel and Palestine, the conflicts within the family structure and the conflicts that exist in each and every one of us.
Filmed very much in a documentary (if not Dogme) style, the plot revolves around a Palestinian family whose home is temporarily commandeered by Israeli soldiers, the hand held camera work and natural lighting draw you in making you feel involved in the familys plight as they are shunted forcefully out of their bedrooms into a single room in the middle of the night and told where they can or cant go. The father Mohammad refuses to budge from his home causing friction between him and the soldiers and also with his wife who unsurprisingly is scared for herself and her family.
Tense and claustrophobic, the film could be read as an allegory for the Palestinian/Israeli conflict. Its surprising that the two sides, family and soldiers could only communicate through broken English, its hard to believe that not one of them could understand the others language especially as the family came across as (for the most part) well educated, although this could also be seen as allegorical of the peace talks.
The tension in the film starts off fairly high even before the incursion of the Israeli troops with family issues at the forefront and never lets up, in a way this poses a bit of a problem as you cant just keep it cranked up to the max, a little respite would have been more effective. I also felt that more time should have been given to the mother, while Mohammad and the children went off to work, and school. This poor women was left alone, petrified in her home with a group of heavily armed soldiers but all we saw was when the majority if not the whole family were together.
One of the sons has some issues that are very much internal, we are let into his thoughts which are pretty scary although probably fairly normal for the young people living in their situation. He above anyone else could endanger his own and his families lives and this plus the eldest daughters wanderings just wind up the tension to breaking point.
Overall a very good film, no one is labelled as good or bad, they are just in a situation beyond their control and at times the soldiers seem to be just as nervous with the situation as the family. There is a lot I havent covered in these comments because it may spoil the film and I hope everyone will get the chance to see it.
Highly recommended, definitely worth seeing with very good performances all round.
BBFC rated 15.
R2 Pal dvd available from Metrodome.