The Reports on Sarah and Saleem
June 16, 2018
This engrossing psychosocial drama begins when a casual love affair between an Israeli woman and a Palestinian man is exploited by the security forces of a divided Jerusalem, leading to a series of dangerous lies that could turn their illicit relationship into a political crisis.
SIFF 2018 (Official Competition Grand Jury Prize)
In the engrossing, ambitious follow up to his impressive debut (Love, Theft, and Other Entanglements, SIFF 2015), director Muayad Alayan continues his exploration of intimate relationships constrained by their political contexts. In this case that context is Jerusalem, a city deeply divided along religious and ethnic lines. Sarah, an Israeli cafe owner, and Saleem, a Palestinian deliveryman, are having a casual affair that suddenly becomes something much more serious after a date gone wrong. When Saleem suggests that they stop for a drink at a bar in Bethlehem—a West Bank city under Palestinian authority—a suspicious local spots Sarah's Hebrew name pendant. The next day, Saleem is picked up by Palestinian security, accused of trafficking Israeli prostitutes; his lawyer proposes that Saleem is actually recruiting Sarah as a spy. Complicating matters further is that Sarah's husband is a colonel in the Israeli army. Soon, the lovers find themselves facing a difficult choice: clearing their names means revealing their relationship; preserving their secret entails dangerous lies. Either way, their decision will have consequences well beyond their individual marriages as their illicit relationship takes on international implications.
A Palestinian filmmaker based in Jerusalem, Muayad Alayan went to San Francisco, California to study film. Upon completing his graduation project, the documentary Exiles in Jerusalem, Alayan moved to Jerusalem. He co-founded Palcine Productions, a collective of filmmakers and audiovisual artists, to facilitate collaboration on media projects and promote film as an art form for youth.
- Original Language Title: Al-Taqareer Hawl Sarah wa Saleem
- Director: Muayad Alayan
- Principal Cast: Maisa Abd Elhadi, Adeeb Safadi, Sivane Kretchner, Ishai Golan
- Country: Palestine, Netherlands, Germany, Mexico
- Year: 2018
- Running Time: 127 minutes
- Producer: Muayad Alayan, Rami Alayan
- Screenplay: Rami Alayan
- Cinematographers: Sebastian Bock
- Editors: Sameer Qumsiyeh
- Music: Frank Gelat, Charlie Rishmawi, Tarek Abu Salameh
- Website: Official Film Website
- Filmography: Love, Theft and Other Entanglements (2015); Sacred Stones (co-director) (2011)
- Language: Arabic, Hebrew, English
- Has Subtitles: Yes