11 August 2007 | gospodinBezkrai
Bizarre, bizarre, bizarre
Bizarre, humorous, touching and again - bizarre! A girl is married by her family to the cousin just across the border. Everything is done by the rules and custom! ...as far as possible when the aunts have to shout across the no-man's land with megaphones! ...The future husband is extolled, the virtues of the prospective bride are enumerated, ...the soldiers manning the watchtowers are blushing.
However, Lamia is a very strong girl with a bit of a mind of her own.
While walking the dirt-track from the Lebanese to the Israeli checkpoint in a white wedding dress, she does not cry. In patriarchal societies the bride is given up to her new family for good (And allow me to stress here, not "Muslim" but "Patriarchal" society, for these customs did not differ much in many lands of Christian Europe at the time when people still extracted their bite of bread with year-long toil over the unforgiving earth). Thus, countless brides cried upon leaving their father's doorstep. So much so that mourning for the forsaken family has become a formal and important part of the wedding ritual (or "hadn't her family loved and cared well enough for her??" the neighbours will gossip!)
Lamia refuses to cry, leaving not only family but an injured yet proud fatherland behind the barbed wires. From now on she refuses to do many more things expected from her - by her relatives or by us! ...Because the white kite is still there - flapping with wings in her soul! It won't stay for long pierced on the barbed fence.
The whole film is built with lightedness, with enjoyment of life, with a touch of humour, despite the serious problems it centers on. This contrasts starkly with another recent palestinian film on a related theme - "Atash". But this is the lightedness of the young yet not roughened heart. It accepts everything without hind thoughts or preconceptions, it is still able to see the beauty in anything that surrounds it. This heart, thanks to an amazing director, transforms the film itself! It offers to us to see unprejudiced the beautiful characters, the striking landscape (the absurdist military border even adds to this!), the flying kites, the happy-despite-everything children and the great music!
The main story is braided with so many other important lines, though they may be barely noticeable! They are warm tributes of the director to the local life, to the locals, to their style. If I have to mention just one of these cameos that stayed with me, it is the deep and honest love between a sister and her small brother! Through the sum of all cameos this film becomes a fully fleshed and very loving portrait of a society in transition between Tradition and Modernity. Society that even put in the transitional confusion, and in the odd border situation, does not loose identity and character. Imagine your old mother coming to visit you, the emigrant to London, and on the airport clearing the baggage security with dozens of home-made jars of baked paprikas, mashed aubergines or quince conserve. This is the homey taste of this film! : )
Finally, it is a film about Love! About many loves, in fact. Even the man getting drunk and sleeping with prostitutes every night because his village was annexed by the Israelis on the day of his wedding and he never saw the wife he was married to! This was love too.