THE LIGHTER SIDE, CIRCLE AWARD
Luxembourg, France, Israel, Belgium, 2018
97 minutes, Color
In Person: Director Sameh Zoabi
One of the most irreverent cinematic spins on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, the latest film from writer-director Sameh Zoabi follows a fledgling soap-opera screenwriter charged with concocting plot twists to suit viewers on both sides. Salam (Kais Nashif) begins working on "Tel Aviv on Fire," a popular Palestinian evening soap for which his uncle is showrunner. Just as Salam's prospects rise after receiving a promotion, he has a fateful encounter with Assi, an Israeli military officer, during his daily commute at the Ramallah checkpoint. Assi sees an opportunity to influence the show, which he thinks is far too unflattering to its Israeli characters. Salam has just begun life as a writer and he's already forced to compromise his integrity—while the entire country watches flabbergasted. Zoabi's satire exudes a deadpan audacity that's hard to resist while Nashif's outwardly unflappable middleman grounds this battle of ideologies in comic pragmatism. —Toronto International Film Festival
In Arabic and Hebrew with English subtitles
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