We still remember the Palestinian Hanya Abu-Assad for better films than “Huda’s Salon”. As many as two of his films (Paradise Now and Omar) have been nominated for Oscars, but unfortunately Abu-Assad has been in free fall for some time. “Huda’s Salon” is also a film in which it again deals with standard topics, ie coexistence, or better said, the lack of coexistence between Palestinians and Israelis and the problems that Palestinians go through due to the still unresolved situation. And the story starts really extraordinary. In a long, ten-minute non-stop scene, we meet a hair salon located right next to the wall that separates Bethlehem and its owner, the middle-aged divorced Hud (Manal Awad), where a young woman named Reem (Maisa Abd Elhadi) arrived for a haircut.
There is a standard gossip about hairdressers, chatting, Reem complains to her hairdresser that her husband is jealous and since they had a child he has not allowed her anything. It can be seen that these two women know each other well, and we realize that something is wrong here when Huda pours something into Reem’s tea. Very soon she loses consciousness, a guy appears in the salon and takes Reem to the room behind with Huda. They strip her naked, the guy strips too, lies next to her, and Huda takes a picture of them. When she wakes up, Reem doesn’t know where she is and what happened, and Huda shows her photos and blackmails her into working for Israel. secret service or the photos will end up with her husband. Huda obviously works for the Israelis and thus drafts similar unfortunates, and her salon is an ideal cover.
Of course, Reem is in shock because she is aware of what awaits her if she finds out that she is a traitor, and just the simplest rumor that she is cooperating with the Israelis is enough to make her head down. From the moment she realizes what she is involved in, Reem’s life will turn into a complete horror, and it will be just the beginning of the horror in which this unfortunate young woman is involved against her will. And while in his two most famous and best films Abu-Assad brilliantly portrayed what community life looks like bitten by paranoia, fear and a constant sense of insecurity, this time the focus has further shifted to women who are in an even worse situation.
Apart from being trapped by themselves due to the political situation, they are often in additional traps of their own lives and completely subjugated and sentenced to a kind of captivity by male family members. Their lives seem to be further occupied with all these rules, obligations that must be kept at all costs or will be marked in society. We will understand that Huda is also one of those marked women who is completely notorious due to divorce, abandoned by everyone. Once in such a situation, she is clearly recognized as an easy target for recruitment to the Israeli secret services, and in this somewhat controversial film Abu-Assad seems to question why a woman like her should be loyal to those who crossed her. It is a film about ubiquitous and daily terror from all sides, a world where there is no mercy and empathy, and although in the beginning “Hood’s Salon” promised a lot, it still remained well below high expectations and it was not at the level of Abu Assad. the best movies. Rating 6.5 / 10.
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