CENTERPIECE FILM PRESENTATION
By all appearances Palestinian Israeli surgeon Amin Jaafari (brilliantly played by Ali Suliman, (Lemon Tree, Paradise Now) has it all. As an admired and respected member of his profession he has carved a space for himself and his wife Sihem at the crossroads of two troubled societies. Together they have strong friendships with Israelis, absorbing a Tel Aviv lifestyle that rejects traditionalism. Amin and Sihem are ostensibly the best examples of Palestinian integration, and despite some tension in the hospital, Jaafari is blissfully unaware of differences. If we are to believe him, his wife is generally satisfied too. But Jaafari’s world is abruptly shattered when Sihem goes missing after a suicide bombing. As Israeli police evidence mounts, it appears that Sihem could have been responsible. A stunned Jaafari is haunted by how he could have missed the signals. In dreamlike sequences he revisits his most intimate encounters with Sihem looking for clues. Evading the police and following his own intuition he travels alone to the Palestinian Territories to find those who might have recruited her. In the narrow streets and shadowed alleys he becomes an unwelcome visitor. Directed by Beirut-born Ziad Doueiri and based on a popular novel written by Algerian novelist Yasmina Khadra, this highly suspenseful drama bravely enters into the complicated world of redemption and revenge in the Middle East. In the story one understands that Khadra is attempting to illuminate both sides of the conflict. —Janis Plotkin
Screened at Toronto Film Festival, 2012 and Telluride Film Festival, 2012.
Director Ziad Doueiri and actor Ali Suliman in person in San Francisco.