- Niki Boyle
- 22 September 2011
Meandering fly-on-the-wall documentary filmed in Palestine
Palestinian filmmaker Raed Andoni suffers from frequent headaches. His doctors tell him there is nothing physically wrong, and advise him to seek the help of a therapist. As Andoni talks about his life – about what it means to him to be a Palestinian and about the conflict with Israel, but also about his friends, family and employment – his therapist spurs him onto a series of journeys to discover the deeper meaning behind each of his recollections.
Refreshingly for a documentary from the Middle East, the film’s tone is one of meandering philosophy rather than tub-thumping activism; Andoni is less an aggrieved martyr, more a professional ponderer out loud. The sinister West Bank barrier does lurk persistently in the background, but is only brought to the fore once, when Andoni’s nephew takes part in a protest march. At other times, Andoni advises his crew to lower the camera while he drives through a checkpoint, or talks with his friends about time they’ve each served in prison. But these instances occur with an air of nonchalance, in much the same way as people in Western nations might pass through a tollbooth or complain about the weather.
Towards the end of the film, one of Andoni’s acquaintances likens the director’s moody temperament to that of Dr Becker, Ted Danson’s crotchety post-Cheers sitcom character. The laughter shared by the group at this observation underlines the film’s core message: that we shouldn’t see the Middle-East purely as some war-torn hell-hole, but as a place where people joke with their friends, watch TV and experience headaches like everyone else.
Showing as part of Take One Action Film Festival