Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
|The Syrian Bride|
Actors: Hiam Abbass, Makram Khoury, Clara Khoury, Ashraf Barhom, Eyad Sheety
Director: Eran Riklis
Genres: Action & Adventure, Indie & Art House, Comedy, Drama, Science Fiction & Fantasy, Television
Mona?s wedding day is the saddest day of her life. She knows that once she crosses the border between Israel and Syria to get married, she will never be allowed back to her beloved family in the Golan Heights, occupied by ... more »
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A great production on Arab society
Hussain Abdul-Hussain | Washington,DC USA | 04/16/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"The Syrian Bride is one of a string of well done European-Israeli movie productions. The producers and the cast are mostly Arab Israelis. While the movie might seem to carry political connotations it is in fact a sociological masterpiece.
The setting is Majdal Shams - the biggest town of the Golan Heights - a Syrian territory which Israel occupied in 1967 and annexed in 1981. The characters are Druze, a Middle Eastern sect that endorses a peculiar religious belief borrowed mainly from Greek mythology, Hinduism and Islam.
The movie highlights the national loyalty of the Golan Druze, which has remained presumably pro-Syria. It also depicts the difficulty this community endures as it lives on different sides of a land controlled by two enemy countries: Syria and Israel.
But the movie is not only about national affiliations and living hardships. It is an emotionally powerful film that penetrates into the deep sociological makeup of the Druze community in specific and the Middle Eastern community in general.
First, the wedding of the bride, Mona, to a fianc? she never met, exposes the fragility of arranged marriages. Mona not only had to surrender to an unknown fate as she marries Talal who lives on the Syrian side, she also had to give up on all of her family and neighborhood since once she left the Israel-occupied territory to Syria, she would never be allowed back. The scene highlights the high risks Arab brides take when they settle for arranged matches that they would never be able to give up on in the future.
But the film does not leave the question of the arranged marriages unanswered as it introduces Mona's elder sister, Amal, who had earlier settled for such an arrangement and now lives under the misery of a conventional husband with whom she does not share anything except for their two daughters.
The rigid Druze marriage system does not affect only women, however. Another sibling of Mona and Amal, Hattem, had been married to a Russian for eight years. Since he had taken up a wife from outside the community, Hatem was being cast out not only by his father, but also by the whole community. The movie cleverly depicts how Hatem's father, Hameed, was under pressure from the community's elders to boycott his son.
The film is certainly one of the best works in this regard about one of the Arab world's most undiscovered sociological aspects. The acting is great and the production is very much up to standard. I recommend you own it and add it to your library of best foreign films."
Borderlines . . .
Ronald Scheer | Los Angeles | 08/04/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"While open hostilities currently prevail between Israel and its neighbors, this film tells of a relatively more peaceful time in the recent past when the Golan Heights have been separated from the rest of Syria by Israeli occupation. Like the wall dividing East and West Berlin, the border fences, check points, and no man's land keep apart members of families, whose lives must now accommodate political differences and national interests originating in cities far away and played out in bureaucracies that are mindless, petty, and impersonal. Against this background, the characters in this film attempt to have a wedding in which the bride and groom come from opposite sides of the border.
While this particular boundary crossing is fraught with difficulties, the bride's family has many inner divisions of its own, between father and son, husband and wife, and father and daughter. Meanwhile, the father of the bride is repeatedly confronted by an uncompromising Israeli army officer and the village's pro-Syrian sheikhs are delivering ultimatums of their own. There is enough dramatic conflict for an Altman movie. The Syrian bride of the title eventually is revealed as the unhappily married wife of a traditionally conservative husband who wants to keep her from pursuing a professional career.
One of the best dramatically honest films I've seen in a long time. The DVD includes an informative making-of featurette, which explains something of the complexity of a multi-national film project shot in the Middle East - and at the wrong time of year. Israeli-born Palestinian actress Hiam Abbass, who plays the sister of the bride, is wonderful."
A big story about an even bigger issue!
Compusurge | New York City | 03/29/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"The best thing about The Syrian Bride is that while it tells the story of one family, it also tells an even bigger story about how an entire population of people are caught in a political no-man's land in northern Israel.
At the center of both of these stories is Mona, a woman, living in the Golan Heights of Israel, who is planning to marry a Syrian, living in Syria. At issue is that 'once she crosses the border into Syria, there is no coming back' to her Druze village nor her family. The bigger issue is the fact that this all exists, and the Druze people are caught in this no-man's land.
That being said, this film is emotionally powerful, and even a non-foreign film fan will get caught in the storyline about a wedding, and about family. The acting is fantastic, the photography is superb, and I highly suggest that while this has nothing to do with My Big Fat Greek Wedding in any way at all, I kept thinking about that classic as I watched The Syrian Bride. I believe this is destined to be a classic itself....all it needs is time.
Excellent job opening an intimate window on life in Golan He
Pio | Orange County, CA | 02/13/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Loved this film because it really [...] me into their world on that day. It was a very intimate film. There was no real excitement but lots of suspense in the many relationships portrayed within one fascinating family torn apart by various things yet still coming together. There was also suspense in the family's relationships to the political states it had to live with, i.e. Israel and Syria. Even though this story would seem about an existence Americans just can't identify with, I found it very easy to identify with. It was like anyone's life but in higher stress. The pressures on the family members were more, the pressures on the family unit itself was more, the pressures placed on them by their local and national governments were more. The long climax of the film played out on the border was an experience of Orwellian red tape again MORE than an American has to deal with. I also learned about the Druze people and the situation they live in in Israel and Syria. There are just so many "situations" in that part of the world that I often feel overwhelmed when I try to research it to figure it out. I know one shouldn't rely on fictional movies to explain reality, but this movie did a good job of taking one day and using it to open a window on life for many Druze trapped in the Golan Heights apart from their relatives in Syria. There was never a dull moment . The acting was very good to excellent. This is the second film I've seen with Haim Abbass who played the older sister of the bride. I find her mesmerizing for some reason. She's just got "it". One can't explain it but one knows it when one sees it. Your eyes immediately go to her and don't leave because you just really want to see what she does next and to try to fathom her feelings and thoughts from her very expressive face. She's just the icing on the cake in this lovely piece of gifted film making. If you like this film, try Paradise Now which I actually preferred."