Reviews

On a regular basis, we share reviews of books and films regarding the situation in Palestine and the surrounding region that have been prepared by our members and supporters.

Sand Storm (2016) ****A review by Jonathan Fryer

In an isolated Bedouin community in the Negev desert, Suliman (Hitham Omari) decides to take a second wife, building a house for her literally adjoined to the ramshackle dwelling where his wife and four daughters live. Though it is never stated overtly, one imagines the reason for this new marriage is the hope of having a son, as well as a younger bride.

Sand Storm

Meanwhile, he has treated his eldest daughter Layla (Amis Ammar) with an unusual degree of preference, even teaching her how to drive his battered pickup truck. He is proud of her success at school but everything turns sour when she reveals that she has fallen in love with a boy from another tribe. Immediately traditional values and practices swing into action, Layla’s mother (Ruba Blal) is as angry and shocked as her father, who quickly sets about finding a “suitable” husband for his daughter. In this début film, in Arabic, with subtitles available in English and other languages, Israeli director Elite Zexer starkly portrays the limits to which women can rebel against tradition in a closed society. Yet the characters are finely drawn, so one understands the conflicts going on inside their heads  Despite the relative poverty and the distant threat that the Israeli authorities might suddenly demand that they demolish their home (as we are told happened to another family) there is a melancholy beauty about this film. It is handled sensitively and one feels one has been transported into the lives of others.

By Jonathan Fryer

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