Eye For Film >> Movies >> Gaza Mon Amour (2020) Film Review
Gaza Mon Amour
Reviewed by: Amber Wilkinson
Palestine's nomination for the International feature Oscar last year is an amiable, if underpowered, shaggy dog story of late-life love which, appropriately, sees Salim Dau bring a puppy-like aspect to sixtysomething fisherman Issa.
There's a likeable mixture of shyness and hopefulness about the way that he goes about his life - something we basically drop in on and watch go by in the opening part of the film. He navigates the checkpoints in Gaza and goes fishing in a "sea that is three miles long" - although day-to-day politics are mainly confined to a supporting role - and tries on aftershave while nattering to his younger friend who is dreaming of a life in Europe, all while trying to work up the nerve to court seamstress Siham (Hiam Abass).
She lives with her daughter Leila (Maisa Abd Elhadi) over the women's tailoring shop where she plies her trade, where the women spar gently of an evening. Gentle is the name of the game here, as twin writer/directors Arab and Tarzan Nasser ramble the plot along after Issa fishes up a beatific but resplendently phallic statue of Apollo, which lands him in considerable hot water with the authorities. This, while offering a fair serving of quirky humour about bureaucracy, all feels like a bit of a meandering distraction from the main event, which is Abass and Dau bringing delightfully sweet and coy sparks to the will-they-won't-they romance.
The shooting style and framing choices continually hold the interest, with DoP Christophe Graillot frequently capturing the action so that Issa and Siham are framed by their job paraphernalia, giving a strong sense of place. There's also a good dollop of everyday absurdity, including a missile hovering in the background of one scene, emphasising, without labouring, the difficulties of life in Gaza. But there's a continual nagging sense that this was, perhaps, once two separate ideas for short films which the directors have grafted together in a way that means the film as a whole falls short. With this sort of acting voltage at their disposal - not just in the leads but also supporting roles - it's a shame the Nassers, like the Gaza authorities, choose to cut the power so arbitrarily with their subplotting.Reviewed on: 06 May 2021
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