Daily Archives: June 24, 1988

Wedding in Galilee

The mukhtar (chief) of an occupied Arab Palestinian village (Ali Mohammed Akili) wants to hold a traditional full-scale wedding for his son (Nazih Akly), but the Israeli military governor will allow it only if he and his officers are the guests of honor. As the ceremonies and festivities gradually unfold over a tense day and night, writer-director Michel Kleifi, who grew up in Nazareth and is now based in Belgium, paints an intimate and multilayered view of the village and its various factions, including the three generations of the mukhtar’s family. Beautifully filmed and edited, and effectively acted by nonprofessionals, the story moves between an alienated grandfather, a group of flirtatious teenage girls, an angry group of young male terrorists, an impotent groom and a resourceful and beautiful bride (Anna Achdian) who are expected to offer proof of their marriage’s consummation in the form of a bloody sheet, a horse that has strayed into a mine field, an Israeli woman soldier who changes into Arab clothes, and other diverse centers of interest, with the mukhtar in most cases providing both the narrative linkage and our sense of how the village is run from within. Eschewing propaganda for an in-depth portrait, this is a fluid and lovely film that speaks volumes about a subject–Palestinian life–that most of us know next to nothing about. Read more

High Season

Clare Peploe’s accomplished and intelligent first feature is a sunny tale of expatriates set on the Greek island of Rhodes, with a cast of characters and a set of crisscrossing destinies that occasionally suggest Graham Greene in one of his happier moods. The people include a talented professional photographer (Jacqueline Bisset) faced with the possibility of having to sell her house, her teenage daughter (Ruby Baker) and ex-husband (James Fox), an art historian who is her oldest friend (Sebastian Shaw), a tradition-minded Greek peasant (Irene Pappas) and her rebellious son (Paris Tselios), and an English couple on holiday (Kenneth Branagh and Lesley Manville). Many of these characters are not who they initially seem to be, and there are various forms of comedy in how they relate (or fail to relate) to one another. For spectators who recall Mazursky’s Tempest of a few years back, this is a much better and smarter handling of many of the same elements, but done this time for grown-ups–pleasurable and diverting throughout. (Chestnut Station, Oakbrook) Read more