28 October 2002 | pfeffster
not your standard inter-racial love story
"Trumpets in the Wadi" offers a look at a world that few of us get to see. Politics and religion are kept to a minimum, although it is impossible to eliminate prejudice, which falls on the head of the Jewish character. The film is charming and moving, but not without flaws. The story and acting are superlative, but some of the plot devices were too convenient to the story and made it less plausible.
Huda is a thirtyish single woman living with her Arab Christian family in a mixed neighborhood in Haifa. Her younger, beautiful sister is involved with a violent ruffian whose father is the family's landlord. To ingratiate himself with the family, the father/landlord replaces noisy neighbors with a short,Russian, Jewish immigrant named Alex. Alex's involvement with the family, and his eventual relationship with Huda are juxtaposed with the younger sister's attempts to seduce her "hill-billy" suitor, whom she prefers to the landlord's son, only because he is not a lunatic.
The movie is unsparing in showing the time-hardened patterns of mistrust, in both Huda's Arabic mother and Alex's Russian Jewish mother. Huda's mother, especially is unsympathetically presented as not caring what happens to Alex, even after he is knifed by the landlord's crazed son while trying to protect Huda's family, among other instances. The men also are presented as real people. But the characters are presented in a vacuum. More content is needed, more background, more description of their places in society. When Alex says "I don't fit in" we are not shown how, we are just told so.
Nonetheless, if you can see this movie, do so, as it is an intelligent and sensitive film.