Palestine, Germany, France, Cyprus, Qatar / 2022 / 108 min
Waleed is an aspiring novelist living in Haifa with his wife and children. A victim to chronic depression, he has also recently quit his bank job to follow his dreams. His new neighbor Jalal repulses him at first, but when he learns of his ties to the underworld he begins following him around as research for his newest novel. The second feature film from Palestinian director Maha HAJ, art director on Elia SULEIMAN’s “The Time That Remains,” who made her feature film debut with “Personal Affairs” (2016), which showed in the Un Certain Regard section at the 2016 Cannes Film Festival. An irony-laden portrait of the unexpected friendship of two middle-aged men, with the central question of Palestinian identity under occupation always in the background. Like its predecessor, this film had its premiere in the Cannes Film Festival’s Un Certain Regard section, winning the 2022 award for best screenplay.
Maha Haj was born in Nazareth in 1970. She graduated from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem in English and Arabic literature. Her cinematic experience was derived from her work as an artistic designer in the productions of The Time That Remain by Elia Suleiman, The Attack by Ziad Douairi, as well as On the Hill by Rafael Nadjari.
She wrote and directed the short film Oranges (2009) and the documentary Behind These Walls (2010). In 2015 she shot her first feature film Personal Affairs which was selected in 2016 Cannes Film Festival’s Official Selection “Un Certain Regard” and critically acclaimed. The film also won the Haifa Film Festival’s Best Feature Award in 2016 and the Mediterranean Film Festival of Montpellier’s Critics’ Award, among others.
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