Screened as part of NZIFF 2018
In this astute and delightfully humorous urban road movie, which winds through the streets of Nazareth, a father and son observe centuries-old tradition and hand-deliver wedding invitations. Shadi, an architect whose colourful fashion sensibility makes his father Abu Shadi nervous, has returned home from Italy for his sister’s upcoming nuptials.
Annemarie Jacir’s (Salt of this Sea) third feature is an absorbing ride. There are constant shifts in the exchanges between the estranged, cosmopolitan son and his crotchety, pragmatic father as each encounter with invitation recipients unlocks past family tensions or reveals the differences in their lived Palestinian experience. Shadi’s frustration with the old man’s over-commitment to ‘duty’ (wajib in Arabic), is both provoked and countered by Abu Shadi’s fear that their culture and way of life are disappearing. Jacir has a great ear for dialogue and extracts terrific performances from real-life father and son Mohammad and Saleh Bakri, whose charismatic on-screen relationship is both relatable and highly enjoyable. — Clare Stewart