Ana Arabia France, Israel 2013 – 77min.

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Ana Arabia

Movie Rating: Hela Khamarou

Yaël (Yuval Scharf), a young a beautiful journalist, arrives in the Palestinian district of Jaffa, a suburb of Tel-Aviv, to do a story on the life of Hannah, a Jewish woman who recently died and whose husband is Muslim. She meets their friends and neighbors in this forgotten enclave, caught up by the story of a mixed couple who live in a community where Jews and Arabs live in peace, far from the usual images of the region supplied by the media and politicians.

Filmed in a long sequence shot of 85 minutes, Amos Gitaï’s latest film succeeds in this very complicated exercise in style. The director reports it took no less than ten attempts to get it right from beginning to end. This cinematographic process builds a hesitant atmosphere as the camera follows Yaël as she zig-zags through the district, and Gitaï gives a voice to an issue that is not heard much: that of Arab-Jewish couples who are confronted with suffering despite their feeling, in a country that refuses to compromise. Is it an idealistic tale? A universal metaphor? Or just a piece of reality no one is listening to? It is the women who carry this hope, as they brave through opposition and navigate their way through a life lined with traps. But in this place that is not affected by time passing, the impossible becomes possible. What if Jews and Arabs could live together in peace?



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