29/11/2023 6:00 pm

Hyde Park Picture House, LS6 1JD

Presented with HPPH


Firas Khoury, 2022, France/Tunisia/Palestine/ Qatar/UAE, 109 mins

Arabic with English subtitles

In this appealing, naturalistic drama Tamer, a middle-class Arab teen living in a village in the Galilee, undergoes a political awakening catalyzed by a pretty, outspoken girl from his high school class. Just like the protagonist, the audience, too, receives a lesson on the symbolism — and power — of flags and what constitutes resistance.

This intelligent, sensitive treatment of the rarely seen, everyday lives of young Palestinian citizens of Israel marks writer-director Firas Khoury as a talent to watch.

Khoury’s convincing and engaging screenplay perfectly captures teenage fearlessness and bravado along with a certain cluelessness about how the real world works. He shows the existential contradictions of the teens’ lives in images as well as words. Their village, located near the ruins of other Arab villages now planted over with trees by the Jewish National Fund, seems quiet and peaceful, although Israeli vehicles patrol constantly, taking down surreptitiously hung Palestinian flags and painting over Arabic graffiti.