Thursday, September 17, 2009

Chaque jour est une fête (Every Day is a Holiday)

Showing at the Toronto International Film Festival: Every Day is a Holiday, directed by Dima El-Horr

Synopsis from the TIFF website:

Road movies can range from popcorn entertainment to Michelangelo Antonioni. The genre is generous, which allows Dima El-Horr to invest her excursion with political nuance, existential heft and a specifically female point of view.

The film opens with an arresting sequence: a couple runs through a tunnel, backlit brightly. She calls out to him, but he keeps running. The police lead him away to prison. In the same tunnel, this one lover is now joined by dozens of other women, all carrying portraits of their imprisoned men.

From this brisk, symbolic opening, Every Day Is a Holiday begins a road trip from Beirut into the desert, toward Lebanon's men's prison. It starts on a bus, but soon events throw the women out into a landscape of parched rock, land mines and hot sun, where their common cause begins to conflict with competing decisions.

Anyone who knows Elia Suleiman's films about Palestine will recognize how El-Horr distills the harsh social realities of life amid war into stark, sometimes absurd scenes. Examining the artificial community created by three women whose men all happen to be prisoners, she explores tensions of class and politics in beautifully conceived set pieces. She also benefits from a cast that includes the superb Hiam Abbass.

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