Let It Be Morning (A PopEntertainment.com Movie Review)
LET IT BE MORNING (2021)
Starring Alex Bakri, Juna Suleiman, Salim Daw, Ehab Salami, Khalifa Natour, Samer Bisharat, Yara Elham Jarrar, Maruan Hamdan, Doraid Liddawi, Izabel Ramadan, Arin Saba and Nadib Spadi.
Screenplay by Eran Kolirin.
Directed by Eran Kolirin.
Distributed by Cohen Media Group. 101 minutes. Not Rated.
There is a fine line between comedy and tragedy, and this wry Israeli/Palestinian comedy drama takes a pointed look at some very serious subjects, but it does so with a bit of knowing gallows humor. Written and directed by Eran Kolirin, who is best known for the 2007 film The Band’s Visit (which became an arthouse success and was turned into a Tony-award winning musical), Let It Be Morning in some odd ways is a wartime version of Waiting for Godot – people stuck waiting for something they don’t know if or when will come.
They’re just doing it in the middle of a decades-long war.
Sami is a Jerusalem-based Palestinian business exec who returns to his home village with his wife and son for his younger brother’s wedding. Sami has long ago escaped his drab hometown and obviously is now uncomfortable there, slightly looking down on family and friends who are still content to stay. Sami has a flashy job and a mistress in Jerusalem, and he can’t wait to get back.
His plans are thrown up in the air when the Israeli army puts the tiny village on lockdown, apparently in search of some Palestinian workers doing construction on a local house. (A house owned by Sami’s family, no less.)
The political horror of the situation is somewhat downplayed – the Israeli army is essentially represented by a single guitar-playing slacker of a soldier on sentry duty. Yet, the injustice of the situation, while downplayed and treated somewhat drolly until the slightly predictable tragic epiphany, can’t help but shine through.
The longer that Sami is stuck in the town, the more his life is turned upside down. And yet, he also comes to somewhat come to terms with his past, reconnecting with an old friend and family. Not much happens – intentionally – and yet lots does. A wonderful cast – particularly standing out is Juna Suleiman as Sami’s wiser-than-he-gives-her-credit-for wife – gives Let It Be Morning intriguing political satire a feel of imperfect humanity.
This Israeli/Palestinian co-production even shows the societal fracture in its own creators – the Palestinian cast refused to appear at the Cannes premiere of Let It Be Morning in protest of the film being promoted as the festival’s Israeli representative film. However, the production – with an Israeli director, based on a Palestinian novel, and with a mostly Palestinian cast – actually shows a potential for some kind of cooperation and connection in the region.
Unlike Kolirin’s previous film, Let It Be Morning is not likely to be adapted into a splashy Broadway musical – the story is much too subtle and slow-moving for that. However, it does show a wry and nuanced understanding of the ongoing Middle East tensions, and it shows them with an oddball charm and humor. It should capture an intrigued following.
Jay S. Jacobs
Copyright ©2023 PopEntertainment.com. All rights reserved. Posted: February 2, 2023.