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THE SYRIAN BRIDE (2004, IZR) – 8/10


Something that was supposed to be one of the happiest days in life for two young people, will turn into a real theater of absurdity in the tragicomedy of the Israeli Eran Riklis. That happiest day is a wedding that will get stuck on the border between Israel and Syria, and guests who have arrived from all over the world will almost get stuck neither in heaven nor on earth. The time of the action was not set by Riklis in 2000, but probably by chance Mona and her sweetheart set the wedding date exactly on the day when the inauguration of the new Syrian President Bashar al-Assad took place, and he, like any real dictator, inherited the freshly deceased father Hafez. The setting is the Golan Heights, an area that Israel conquered in the so-called the six-day war with Syria in 1967.

The Druze community lives there, to which Mona’s family also belongs, and the Druze are a special religious group that speaks Arabic and is not thrilled with the Israeli occupation. The unstable political situation and the constant Israeli-Syrian conflict will completely ruin the wedding for the famous actor from Syria. The biggest problem is that Syrians are not allowed to enter Israel, and as they live in the territory of Israel and are officially considered citizens of Israel, the Druze are not allowed to enter Syria because otherwise they will be barred from returning home. The solution turned out to be a wedding on no man’s land between two border stations, but it won’t go just like that either, because it all depends on bureaucrats and countless regulations that are constantly changing.

And before the wedding itself, problems will begin. Mona’s father Hammed (Makram Khoury) openly advocates the return of Golan to Syria, which is why he was in prison and is on parole and is not allowed on the border. After eight years, Mona’s eldest brother Hattem returns home, who was crucified by his father after he married a Russian doctor and thus violated some Druze tradition. Mona’s older sister Amal (Hiam Abbass, who we remember best for her great role in Villenueve’s “Incendies”, and for this role she was nominated for European Actress of the Year), acts as a kind of patch between quarreling family members, but she doesn’t seem overly happy with life. and now that her daughters have grown up she has some other ambitions than an ordinary housewife.

Another brother, Marwan (Ashraf Barhom), a sweet-talking smuggler and womanizer whose lifestyle is not supported by anyone in the family, but somehow everyone still loves him, also arrived home. The family situation is obviously quite complicated and difficult to navigate among all these regulations, laws, rules and tribal customs that the Druze must abide by, and Riklis filmed an equally absurd and humanistic humorous drama about a completely surreal situation that literally marked the lives of all these people. . Although in reality this situation would definitely not be funny, Riklis made a likable and charming film that won the hearts of both audiences and critics for a reason.