"The Syrian Bride" is a drama about the manifold complications that politics throws in the way of two people on their wedding day when the groom is on one side of the Israel-Syria border and the bride is on the other.
By JOSHUA TANZER
"The Syrian Bride" has one big revelation to make, sprinkled with a lot of side dramas. What do you suppose happens when a woman in the Golan Heights decides to marry a man a few kilometers on the other side of the Syrian border? Be assured, this is not the U.S.-Canada border or the French-German border, and getting married is not just a matter of getting a license and renting a hall. That's the least of it.
What happens is, in fact, an international incident. Israeli security has to plan for a handoff at the border, in which the bride may or may not be allowed to cross a no-man's land and find out whether Syrian guards on the other side will let her join her husband-to-be. Once she's married, a Red Cross worker explains, Syria will not let her leave and Israel will not let her return. She can expect never to see her family again and that's if all goes well.
|THE SYRIAN BRIDE|
|Directed by: Eran Riklis.|
Written by: Suha Arraf, Eran Riklis.
Cast: Hiam Abbass, Makram Khoury, Clara Khoury, Ashraf Barhom, Eyad Sheety, Evelyn Kaplun, Julie-Anne Roth, Adnan Tarabshi, Marlene Bajali, Uri Gavriel, Alon Dahan, Robert Henig, Derar Sliman, Ranin Boulos, Hanna Abou-Manneh.
Cinematography: Michael Wiesweg.
Edited by: Tova Asher.
In English, Arabic and Hebrew with English subtitles.
Related links: Official site
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The bride Mona (played by Clara Khoury, who faced another marriage-day meltdown in 2003's "Rana's Wedding") is getting a virtual groom. She's never met him, but at least she's seen him on TV he's a much-beloved Syrian comedian on what appears to be a bad sitcom. His co-workers on the set after they wrap up a sketch in which his office assistant has to wipe the lipstick smudges off his face call him crazy for marrying someone he doesn't even know, but they have to admit she looks beautiful from her snapshot.
Mona herself is a quiet presence through most of the film everything seems to be happening around her and because of her but with almost no regard for her wishes. She sits quietly and waits, possibly scared to death. Meanwhile, her sister fusses over her and her two cosmopolitan brothers one just in from Italy and the other from Russia with his Russian wife and son have their own complications to deal with. Their father is just back from Israeli prison for his involvement in Syrian politics, and he's been warned not to show up at the border crossing or he'll be arrested again. The women in the family have their own undercurrents going on, as social change challenges traditional religious practices and family roles.
"Syrian Bride" is less focused than its high-energy cousin "Rana's Wedding," and some aspects of the story will be much clearer to a Middle Eastern audience than an American one. But it still has an impact, illustrating the absurdities that politics has put in the way of life's most basic ambitions.
|JUNE 2, 2005|
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