Ultimately highlighting the futility of violence, Omar is a Palestinian pressured to collaborate with Israeli authorities – or face a long jail term.

Scaling the dividing wall that cuts through Jerusalem, Omar (Adam Bakri – Slam, Official Secrets) travels from his place of work to see his family and secretly court Nadia (Leem Lubany – Rock the Kasbah, Saint Judy), the sister of best friend Tarek (Eyad Hourani – The Idol, Vanguard). Arrested for participating in an attack that sees an Israeli soldier killed, Omar is given the choice: inform on Tarek or face a lengthy jail term. Released yet under suspicion as an informer, Omar sets out to prove otherwise, resulting in a twisting game of cat and mouse as the authorities under Agent Rami (Waleed Zuaiter – London Has Fallen, The Angel) close in on him.

Directed by Hany Abu-Assad (Paradise Now, The Mountain Between Us), Omar’s true motives and alliances remain hidden as he discovers his betrayal by Amjad (Samer Bisharat – TV’s Fauda, The Looming Tower), thus questioning his personal and political motivations. The result is a finely honed, personal dramatic thriller interwoven with a deeply felt love story.

Nominated for the 2014 best foreign language film Oscar.

Rating: 79% 


wajibThe Palestinian custom of hand-delivering wedding invitations leads to estranged father and son reconnecting as Shadi (Saleh Bakri – Water, The Band’s Visit) returns from life in Italy to support his father in the arrangements for his sister’s wedding.

Modest and understated, real life father (Mohammad Bakri – American Assassin, Water) and son drive the streets of Nazareth in northern Israel, sitting side by side. Extended family, friends – even the occasional Israeli – make brief appearances to drive the narrative (and gentle humour) forward but Wajib is essentially the interactions of two leads, their clashes of values, politics – even Shadi’s wardrobe.

A slice of everyday, of life of Christian Arabs living in Israel, of Palestinian customs,  Majib (directed by Annemarie Jacir – When I Saw You, Salt of This Sea) is as much a film about relationships and generational expectations as it is a political commentary on Israeli/Palestinian co-existence.

Rating: 71%

Screened as part of the Melbourne International Film Festival