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  • This was an amazing cinematic achievement for the region where it originated. Overall the piece sparks interest in several different characters but never fully develops or explores any individual instead opting to focus on the group dynamics at play leaving the underlying storylines as secondary. The only point where this film gets extremely difficult to watch is when the night scenes occur and you are left wondering what is happening only given gratification through auditory stimulation. The cultural exploration is in depth and the subject of the film illuminates a very historically important content in palestinian/israeli history. I recommend this film for its historical and region specific cinematic achievements, though i found myself bored by the end.
  • The movie seems more like a National Geographic documentary than like a fiction feature, which is understandable given the background of the director. Although at time painfully slow to develop and rather episodical and disjointed, the movie makes up for it in sensitivity, cinematography and subtlety. More than a story, the movie is a fresco of Palestinian rural society, split along ethnic, generational, political and gender faults. The strongest portrayal is of the Palestinian man: proud but powerless, ashamed and angry. Powerless to keep the Israelis away from their wedding, incompetent in planning and carrying out an attack against the Israeli soldiers, and ultimately downright impotent. Palestinian women by contrast are sensitive, sensual, peaceful and generally much better adjusted. Not the greatest movie ever, but a great way to understand the more subtle nuances of the Palestinian psyche.
  • msultan9 June 2003
    Although I found this moving extremely moving and interesting, I was really aggravated by the useless scenes of nudity and eroticism. It seemed as though it were there only to sell better. Why would an Israeli soldier on duty not be wearing a bra? Why would the Palestinian woman's first impulse be to massage the fainted woman soldier's breast? Why does the younger sister be topless trying her father's kafya on? "Do women wear bras in the Middle East?" seems to be the appropriate question to ask after watching this movie. And why the insinuated lesbianism? All this sex is irrelevant to the plot and insulting to the culture, yet it got its point across: on the video cover I rented, 'erotic' was one of the praises by critics. Is it to sell better to a Western audience? This is crowned by the way Samiya decides to honor the tradition. Why not prick her finger the way most women in this situation do? That was too much, because this is definitely something that would not happen, but again, I'm sure it appealed dramatically to those who only look for exoticism and eroticism in the east. Yes, Arabs are repressed, and yes, they are frustrated--for a number of reasons. But that's not what these scenes represented. Apart from that, I did find the movie extremely touching. It's a very charged movie that deals with a lot of important issues. It's also an interesting look into a traditional village's customs -preparing the bride, the 'dokhla', the food, etc. The Arab-Israeli tension is also very well portrayed, as the code of hospitality and the code of honor almost clash. The episode with the horse is highly symbolic and beautiful -I thought I'd find it cliché, but it turned out amazing. Technically, it gets too dark at the end. I wasn't able to tell what happened. This said, I liked the fact that night was night, it adds reality. If it weren't for the useless naked girls, I would give this a 9.5.