Mohammad Bakri, Saleh Bakri, Karma Zoabi, Rana Alamuddin, Maria Zriek
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Real life father/son Mohammad and Saleh Bakri are terrifically engaging…
Directed by poet/activist/filmmaker Annemarie Jacir, whose 2012 film When I Saw You was nominated for a Best Foreign Language Academy award, Wajib is a portrait of a father/son relationship within the Palestinian community of the Northern Israeli city of Nazareth. The story follows a father and son as they travel through the city, in a sort of slow-moving road movie.
Shadi (Saleh Bakri, who has starred in two of Jacir’s previous films) has returned to Nazareth from Rome, for the wedding of his sister, Amal (Maria Zriek). Riding shotgun with his father, Abu Shadi (Mohammad Bakri), the two men cruise around the city in his dad’s beat-up Volvo, hand delivering invites to the prospective wedding guests.
While Abu Shadi is a creature of tradition and dutifully carries out this ritual, his son has no patience for it and sees it as pointless. It’s this tension that leads to the numerous discussions as they drive. Abu Shadi is dismissive of his son’s life in Rome with his Palestinian girlfriend and attempts to spruik him as a viable partner to the single daughters of several of the families they visit. Shadi tolerates being pimped out by his father, knowing that the real reason for it is his father’s dislike of his girlfriend’s father and their affiliation with the PLO, an organisation his father sees as out of touch with the everyday problems of Palestinians.
This free-flowing (or rather free-wheeling) discussion piece, meanders along with the pair as they move through and around the city encountering relatives, Shadi’s old flames and an Israeli friend of Abu Shadi, prompting discussion on any number of fronts about the realities of life in Israel for the Palestinian people.
Real life father/son Mohammad and Saleh Bakri are terrifically engaging, with the relaxed back-and-forth and off-the-cuff venting that is only possible when sparring with a close family member. Largely, the meandering discussions amount to a single verbal bout from two opposing viewpoints: the Arab who embraces the difficulties of staying in their homeland and those who choose to take it with them in their heart and live overseas.