As wedding festivities get underway in a Bedouin village in Israel, Jalila finds herself in the awkward position of hosting her husband Suliman’s marriage to a second, much younger wife. During the celebration, Jalila stumbles across eldest daughter Layla’s involvement with a boy from her university—a strictly forbidden liaison that would shame the family. Burying the indignity of Suliman and his new bride living next door, Jalila also tries to contain Layla’s situation by clamping down on her. But younger and possessed of a boundless spirit, Layla sees a different life for herself.
A story of tradition, modernity, and divided family, Sand Storm upends expectations. At its core, Elite Zexer’s mesmerizing debut feature portrays the emotionally layered relationship between mother and daughter, both bound by custom while struggling to adapt to a changing world. Zexer’s artful storytelling derives its authenticity—its complexity of character, rich detail, and subtle humor—from the 10 years she’s spent interacting with Bedouin women. Her fidelity to their experience allows her to beautifully convey the spirit of profound ambivalence Jalila and Layla share.
- John Nein, Sundance Film Festival Catalog