Screened as part of NZIFF 2016
Recommended for ages 9+
Acclaimed Palestinian filmmaker Hany Abu-Assad (Paradise Now, Omar) directs this fictionalised feature based on the story of Mohammed Assaf, the Gazan wedding singer who became a worldwide sensation after winning the ‘Arab Idol’ competition in 2013. The Idol chronicles Mohammed’s remarkable rise from childhood in Gaza to acclaim as an international symbol of hope.
A lack of real instruments doesn’t stop honey-voiced ten-year-old Mohammed and his sassy sister, Nour (with whom he shares a deep bond, a tiny bedroom and an obsession with music), from performing wherever and whenever they can with their makeshift band. It’s Nour who recognises the true potential of her brother’s talent, and makes him promise to share his gift with the world. A decade later, Mohammed, now a college student and part-time cab driver, ventures on a journey beset with seemingly insurmountable obstacles to fulfil his promise. — NM
“An idealistic appreciation of music as a way of bridging boundaries through a unifying appeal to beauty, gliding past differences in the soulful pleasure of song.” — Nicolas Rapold, NY Times