Everything happens in Tel Aviv (2018), by Sameh Zoabi – Review

Fun proposal that, in comedy format, tells us the problems that the Palestinian population faces every day.

After directing his first short film in 2005 and a couple of films, this is the third feature of Palestinian scriptwriter and director Sameh Zoabi, born in Iksal, a small town near Nazareth. He graduated from Tel Aviv University in Cinematography and English Literature. Subsequently, he received a Fulbright scholarship to study film at Columbia University, obtaining the Master in 2005. For his short film Be quiet (2005) received an award in the Cinefondation Selection of the Cannes Film Festival. His premiere in the film was with Man Without a Cell Phone (2010), which won several awards from the public, as well as the Golden Antigone at the Montpellier Film Festival 2011. His second feature film, Under the Same Sun (2013) was about peace between Israel and the Palestinians. More recently, Zoabi wrote the original script of The idol (2015), directed by Hany Abu Assad, which premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival. Now with this film he returns to the Palestinian conflict in the form of comedy with a brilliant and entertaining result. In addition to his work as a filmmaker, he is an adjunct professor in the MFA program at the University of New York at the Tisch School of the Arts, Hunter College and the University of Columbia giving basic management, production and screenwriting classes.

Developed with an agile and very funny rhythm, without making it obvious the drama that Palestinians must live in their daily lives.

The story he tells us, for whose development he has had the support of screenwriter Dan Kleinman, is that of Salam, a young Palestinian with no work experience, who due to random circumstances and thanks to the support of a family member, becomes a screenwriter of a popular Arab soap opera but with a large audience among the Israeli female audience. After a casual and unfortunate encounter with an Israeli officer, his career is increasing, until everything gets complicated and Salam gets caught in the middle. Developed with an agile and very funny rhythm, without making it obvious the drama that Palestinians must live in their daily lives. In the acting section, the great work of the main actor and his comedic Kais Nashif, Lubna Azabal in his role as a European diva and the Israeli army officer Yaniv Biton, which give the group a magnificent support for the development of the plot.

In short, we are facing what is undoubtedly a very funny proposal that in comedy format tells us about the problems that the Palestinian population faces every day, although sometimes the smile remains in suspense when we realize the terrible reality that encloses


Synopsis Salam, a handsome 30-year-old Palestinian who lives in Jerusalem, works on the set of the famous Palestinian soap opera ‘Tel Aviv on Fire’, produced in Ramallah. Every day, to reach television studios, Salam must go through strict Israeli control. There he meets the commander in charge of the checkpoint, Assi, whose wife is a fan of the soap opera. To impress her, Assi gets involved in writing the story. Soon, Salam realizes that Assi's ideas could lead him to a promotion as a screenwriter. His creative career begins to take off.
country Luxembourg
Direction Sameh Zoabi
Script Dan Kleinman, Sameh Zoabi
Music Andre Dziezuk
Photography Laurent Brunet
Distribution Kais Nashif, Lubna Azabal, Yaniv Biton, Maisa Abd Elhadi, Nadim Sawalha, Salim Dau, Yousef ‘Joe’ Sweid, Amer Hlehel, Laëtitia Eïdo, Ashraf Farah, Ula Tabari
Gender Comedy
Duration 100 min
Original title Tel Aviv on Fire
Premiere 12/13/2019

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[elcineenlasombra.com]