Autumn 2014 wWednesday series
Wednesday, December 10, 2014 at 7:00pm
Directed by Hany Abu-Assad
Screenplay by Hany Abu-Assad
Starring Iyad Hoorani , Leem Lubany, and Adam Bakri
Rated 14A ·
Hebrew and Arabic
Palestinian filmmaker Hany Abu-Assad’s (Paradise Now) Oscar-nominated Omar is a gripping political drama about a young Palestinian baker and freedom fighter (Adam Bakri), who must face painful choices about life and manhood after being forced to become an Israeli informant. Set in occupied Palestinian territories, we first see Omar successfully scaling the impossibly high separation wall, a forbidding construct covered in graffiti, only to be shot at as he nears the top. Omar has to cross the barrier in order to visit his childhood pals Tarek (Iyad Hoorani) and Amjad (Samer Bisharat). He is in love with Tarek’s sister Nadia (Leem Lubany) and each time they meet for coffee, the pair covertly exchange love letters. At night, the friends train as freedom fighters and plan to kill an Israeli soldier.
After the trio commit their first act of violence they are betrayed and Omar is captured. He is forced to become an informant by Agent Rami (Waleed F. Zuaiter, The Visitor) in order to secure his release. Free again, Omar pursues his relationship with Nadia and asks for Tarek’s permission to marry his sister. He is surprised to learn that Amjad has also asked for Nadia’s hand. Mistrust blossoms as the trio realise that they have been betrayed by someone within their circle.
Omar’s feelings become as torn apart as the Palestinian landscape. Everything he does is for his love of Nadia and he attempts to behave honourably. But after his second detention and early release, Nadia begins to doubt him and Omar finds his choices increasingly restricted. It is as though Agent Rami has put a noose around his neck and is gradually pulling it tighter.
“This is political cinema at its best; intelligent, thought-provoking and utterly absorbing. Bakri is a star in the making and delivers an electrifying performance.” (Lucy Popescu, CineVue)
“If Alfred Hitchcock had grown up as a Palestinian, he might have made something like Hany Abu-Assad’s Oscar-nominated Omar, which is a tender love story, a haunting tragedy and an expertly crafted thriller with flawed, damaged and not entirely likable characters.” (Andrew O’Hehir, Salon.com)
“With the exception of Waleed F. Zuaiter, who does a remarkable good-cop act as an Israeli agent, the cast is composed of first-time actors who bring realism to a tragic story. It manages to punch you in the gut and break your heart at the same time.” (Chris Nashawaty, Entertainment Weekly)