Mediterranean Fever

Waleed, an aspiring writer, can’t get a word down on paper. His growing existential depression has sent him into a personal crisis that pushes his wife to her limits. Even his children become frustrated with him. But Waleed’s outlook on life shifts when Jalal, a small-time crook, moves in next door. At first like oil and water, the two are more alike than they realize. Their friendship crystallizes as Waleed takes a serious interest in Jalal’s clandestine scheming. Though under the guise of research for his novel, Waleed has a much more sinister ulterior motive in mind.

Palestinian director Maha Haj’s (Personal Affairs, SFJFF 2017) second feature offers a poignant commentary on the social and psychological weight of being Palestinian in Israel, as well as the inherited trauma that goes along with it. Delicately balancing dark comedy with thriller elements, Haj seeks out and finds the core of the human experience.

Winner of the Un Certain Regard Screenplay Prize at the Cannes Film Festival and Palestine's entry for Best International Feature for the 2023 Academy Awards. — Dominique Oneil

Maha Haj was born in Nazareth in 1970. She graduated from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem in English and Arabic literature. Her cinematic experience was derived from her work as an artistic designer in the productions of The Time That Remain by Elia Suleiman, The Attack by Ziad Douairi, as well as On the Hill by Rafael Natjari. She wrote and directed the short film Oranges (2009) and the documentary Behind These Walls (2010). In 2015 she shot her first feature film Personal Affairs which was selected in 2016 Cannes Film Festival’s Official Selection “Un Certain Regard” and critically acclaimed. The film also won the Haifa Film Festival’s Best Feature Award in 2016 and the Mediterranean Film Festival of Montpellier’s Critics’ Award, among others.

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