A superb, gripping realist drama. An extra-marital affair can be dangerous at the best of times, but when the man is a Palestinian and the woman an Israeli the danger is in another league. Saleem and Sarah are embroiled in such an affair, but his wife’s brother involves him in cross-border smuggling and her husband is a security forces Captain. An indiscreet incident in a Bethlehem bar unleashes a terrifying cascade of consequences for this ill-fated couple, affording director Muayad Alayan ample opportunity to examine the political dynamics of the Israeli-Palestinian situation and to pose a lot of agonising moral dilemmas.
Very assured for a second feature, the film also incidentally, and effortlessly, works as a slow-burn thriller, building to an electrifying climax and a satisfying coda. The performances are all first-class and the characters all beautifully drawn - the quietly-spoken Israeli security police are terrifying, and Maisa Abd Elhad is especially memorable as Saleem’s wife Bisan. Initially naïve, she becomes ferociously assertive when she learns the truth, and a catalyst for the conclusion to the mess the others have created. Absolutely riveting viewing.
Winner of seven international awards, including Best Film (International Competition) and Best Actress (Maisa Abd Elhadi) at the 2018 Durban International Film Festival and Grand Jury Prize for Best Feature Film at the 2018 Seattle International Film Festival.
“Muayad Alayan’s beautifully observed, studiously discomfiting film has a lot to say about power and privilege.” - Jennie Kermode, Eye For Film.
“The fraught relationship between Israelis and Palestinians is this tale’s powerful overlay. But it’s the questions it raises about personal accountability that speak to wider truths.” - Vanessa H Larsen, The Washington Post.
“It’s hot stuff, and Alayan handles it with the practiced skill of juggler casually flicking torches in the air.” - Kerry Lengel, Arizona Republic.