Omar, a young baker from Palestine risks his life every time he climbs over the Isreali-West Bank separation wall. The wall is concrete and difficult to climb but on the other side are his friends Amjad and Tarek but also Tarek’s sister Nadia. He wants to marry Nadia a fact that Terek ignores. After the three friends kill an Israeli soldier, Omar gets arrested and tortured. Omar is fooled into a confession but gets released with the promise of assisting Israeli military intelligence. The romance between Omar and Nadia has a feeling of Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet. In their scenes together actors Adam Bakri and Leem Lubany barely touch. A delicate holding of hands, touching each other’s fingers and a soft kiss on the lips. This is real love! It contrasts with how hard the film is. The torture scenes are made harder because Bakri is so good at making us like Omar. Palestinian director Hany Abu-Assad is adept at creating suspense especially those heart thumping scene when Omar is getting chased by military. The drama becomes more charged and melodramatic as the film progresses. Recommended nevertheless.
And the Oscar went to… Omar is only the second film from Palestine the get an Oscar nomination as Best Foreign Language Film. The first was Paradise now also directed by Hany Abu-Assad. Omar lost to Italy’s La grande bellezza [The great beauty]. Other nominees were: The broken circle breakdown (Belgium), Jagten [The hunt] (Denmark), L’image manquante [The missing picture] (Cambodia).