Thursday, April 28, 2011

Talking Tribeca: Love During Wartime

I’ve had the pleasure this year of screening a number of selections from the Tribeca Film Festival. In no particular order, I present a look at one film per day. The Tribeca Film Festival takes place April 20th through May 1st.

Love During Wartime
Directed by Gabriella Bier
Festival Screenings

In terms of hot-button topics these days, it doesn’t get much hotter than the Israel-Palestinian conflict. At the center of an international issue is one couple whose entire relationship has been an uphill battle. Jasmin, an Israeli woman, and Assi, a Palestinian man, are unable to live together in Israel and therefore have spent the majority of their marriage fighting to live together in Germany. Director Gabriella Bier follows Jasmin as she spends time dancing in Germany and Assi as he waits in Ramallah, hoping to get a visa to be able to live with his wife. The precious time they do spend together often devolves into bickering, as Jasmin’s hopefulness becomes tiresome to Assi as obstacle after obstacle gets in their way. The subject matter is fascinating, to be sure, but as people, Jasmin and Assi aren’t the most dramatic or theatrical. Bier’s point is clear, and she focuses much of her documentary on attempting to define the space that separates these two people. There are some tough scenes embedded in an otherwise unremarkable profile which doesn’t display much technical competence or filmmaking skill. While one forward-thinking couple can’t hope to solve a problem plaguing multiple nations, Jasmin and Assi both seem to toss aside politics, lashing out at everyone for putting stumbling blocks in their way. If nothing else, this film manages to capture, or at least allude to, the seriousness and complexity of their situation.

See it or skip it? It’s not as interesting as it sounds, but that doesn’t mean it’s not a decent project.

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