Tuesday, 9 December 2014

The Movie: Omar

OMAR:     Running Time: 98 minutes                     
Language: Arabic/Hebrew/ English subtitles
Synopsis of the film:
‘Omar’ is the latest offering from Hany Abu-Assad (of ‘Paradise Now’ fame which was screened at the Palestine South Africa Film Festival in 2013). It is a tense, gripping thriller about betrayal, suspected and real, in the Occupied Territories of the West Bank. 
 ‘Omar’ gives insight into life under occupation revealing a situation of lovers on either side of the “separation wall” that cuts through Palestinian land. With all the drama and tension akin to Shakespeare’s ‘Romeo and Juliet’, the film highlights the difficulties and frustrations faced by the lovers and the adversities faced on a daily basis by people under constant threat of military retaliation. 
A harrowing, humane Arabic-language drama about life under occupation that's part Romeo-and-Juliet love story and part twisty chess-pawn thriller. Adam Bakri stars as the quietly charismatic Omar, a baker who climbs back and forth over the towering Israeli security wall to visit his girlfriend, Nadia (sad-eyed beauty Leem Lubany). After being routinely harassed by Israeli police, Omar and his two buddies shoot a random border guard — less out of political conviction than as a way to regain some sort of power in their powerless lives. Abu-Assad never tries to justify the act. How could he? Instead, he zeroes in on the aftermath: the paranoia and breakdown of loyalty among people who have been friends since birth. With the exception of Waleed F. Zuaiter, who does a remarkable good-cop act as an Israeli agent, the cast is composed of first-time actors who bring realism to a tragic story. It manages to punch you in the gut and break your heart at the same time.  Palestinian filmmaker Hany Abu-Assad has made a dynamic, action-packed drama about the insoluble moral dilemmas and tough choices facing those on the frontlines of a conflict that shows no sign of letting up.

Review by Ailsa WIndsor

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