Dancing Arabs

Eyad (Razi Gabareen as young Eyad, then Tawfeek Barhom as teenage Eyad) is a young Palestinian living in a small village in Israel. In 1969, his father, Salah (Ali Suliman), got arrested because of his political activities. Now out of prison, Salah has become a fruit picker. When the school teacher asks Eyad what his father do for a living, Eyad answers “Terrorist!”. The teacher knows Salah is a fruit picker, but Eyad insist: “Terrorist!”. As a teen, Eyad is accepted to a prominent Jewish high school in Jerusalem. He nervously goes there thinking he’s not going to fit in at all. Actually, despite some rough patches, he is doing better than he tought. Soon he meets Naomi (Danielle Kitzis), a jewish student, and falls in love with her. They keep their relationship secret as it would not please some people, especially her family. While doing community work, Eyad tutors Yonatan (Michael Moshonov), a young man with muscular dystrophy. They become friends as they seem to have the same taste in music. And there is Edna (Yaël Abecassis), Yonatan’s mother, who welcomes Eyad in the family. She will later ask Eyad to move in with them, when her son’s health worsens. Depending on what side you are, I understand that Dancing Arabs won’t please everyone, but I found it an effective coming of age drama about growing up in a war-torn country. Sure, sometimes Eyad has to hide his own identity, but he still finds allies in the most unlikely places.

Rémi-Serge Gratton

Dancing Arabs

Directed by:
Eran Riklis
Screenplay by:
Sayed Kashua
based on his book
Tawfeek Barhom
Ali Suliman
Yaël Abecassis
Michael Moshonov
Razi Gabareen
Danielle Kitzis
104 min.
Rated 14A
In Arabic and Hebrew
with English subtitles

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