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Shadi (Saleh Bakri), an architect who lives in Italy, returns to Nazareth for the wedding of his sister. His father, Abu Shadi (renowned actor Mohammed Bakri, the real-life father of Saleh Bakri), welcomes his son’s help in delivering 340 wedding invitations by hand, a Palestinian tradition. Driving around in Dad’s trusty blue Volvo, the men talk as they bring envelopes to a panoply of friends, cousins, aunts and uncles who ply them with coffee and sweets at each stop. The poignancy of Shadi spending time with his father, who recently had heart surgery, is darkened by personal and political shadows. Shadi’s mother abandoned her husband and children years ago to pursue love in America, and her impending return for the wedding has profound effects on each family member.
Layered on top of the family’s wedding jitters is the difficulty of life under Israeli occupation. When Abu Shadi wants to invite a Jewish friend who Shadi believes is part of Israeli military intelligence, old wounds are opened and we see the conflict through the eyes of two different generations of Palestinians. Annemarie Jacir’s brilliant, funny script, coupled with superb acting, weaves an elegant story of familial conflict within a complex political reality. —Nancy Fishman
Winner Special Jury Prize, Locarno Film Festival
Palestinian filmmaker Annemarie Jacir has been working in independent film since 1994 and has written, directed and produced a number of short films including A Post Oslo History (1998), The Satellite Shooters (2001) and Like Twenty Impossibles (2003). She works as a freelance editor and cinematographer and also teaches. Salt of the Sea is her first feature film, then she directed When I Saw You. Wajib is her third feature film.