Tuesday 26 December 2023

Movie Review: Salt Of This Sea (2008)

Genre: Drama
Director: Annamarie Jacir
Starring: Suheir Hammad, Saleh Bakri, Riad Ideis
Running Time: 109 minutes

Synopsis: Born and raised in Brooklyn by Palestinian parents, Soraya (Suheir Hammad) arrives in Israel and travels to Ramallah, intent on recovering money from her deceased grandfather's bank account. Thwarted by the bureaucracy, she befriends restaurant worker Emad (Saleh Bakri), who is dreaming of immigrating to Canada. Along with Emad's friend Marwan (Riyad Ideis), the trio plot to extract funds from the bank, resulting in an unsanctioned trip to Israel and visits to ancestral villages.

What Works Well: This independent Palestinian production delivers a core message with determined eloquence: the Palestinian homeland dream survives with burning intensity across generations. The scenic interludes capture the Mediterranean beauty of a tiny land rich with history but beset by conflict, while the contrast between the local Emad, who only wants to leave, and the outsider Soraya, who only wants to stay, creates an intriguing psychological dichotomy.

What Does Not Work As Well: This is a barely-above-amateur effort, with choppy editing, scenes that just don't work, narrative gaps, awkward acting, and plenty of filler material. The moments of emotional conflict are painfully contrived.

Conclusion: Noble in intent, but clunky in delivery.

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