I attended the projection of David&Leyla last night at the Arab film festival in Brussels
Among the shameful events of my life …
During the Q&A section of the evening
I did not speak up and yet…
I had felt like leaving well before the end and yet…
since I’ll never know the end of Waltz with Bashir (I could not care less about the lebanese nightmares of zionist assassins) I stayed
but then, why did I not open my mouth ?
I know, it was hard to hurt the feelings of the producer who was present; I am trying to make amends by putting this on line.
I felt the film as a vulgar, American vision of things
A love story between a randy and sex problems ridden jewish New Yorker and a beautiful Kurd
He is engaged to a nightmare of a woman who has the blessing of his family.
He falls in love with Leyla, the beautiful and virgin Kurdish and muslim girl about to be shipped out by Immigration.
Both families object and throw all their racist or national clichés at each other
Leyla can marry David only if he converts to islam
David converts to islam and they marry
During the wedding party David leaves the party discreetly and breaks a glass under his foot in the Jewish tradition.
A few years later, we see them with a son sharing Pessah with the Jewish side of the family.
The positive side of the film
The film maker remains firm on Palestine
Islam is not presented as a caricature
We share the nostalgia of the exiled Kurds
Eventually, the two families blend harmoniously with each side keeping its values
The wonderful Kurdish wedding party and the Kurdish music
And there is humour of course with poor David having to deal with the consequences of his betrayal and struggling to take his admission exam into Islam.
What was totally uncalled for :
the sex scenes. That was really the vulgar part, specially towards the end, the scence between the parents.
I cannot imagine this film being viewed in Damascus if only on this account. If you want to build a bridge between the two sides you have to take the sensitivities of the other side into account.
Two moroccan newspapers have accused the film of being zionist; I would not go that far.
Had I know, would I have gone to see it ? The answer is no. Does not mean you should not.