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An Arab man marries a Jewish woman. They give birth to a girl and a boy and live in quiet harmony among the Arab-Jewish community. Nobody realizes that behind dozens of mysterious terror attacks which trembles the state of Israel in the late 60’s stands no other than the Arab father.
When he is caught the mother decides to flee the country with her kids. When they grow up, the two will take opposite roads – She will become an ultra-orthodox Jew, and he will fall in love and marry his Muslim cousin..
The title of this fascinating documentary by Nurit Kedar and Yaron Shani is derived from the life of Fawzi al Nimer, an Israeli Arab sentenced to 27 life sentences for 22 terrorist actions that he undertook following the Six-Day War... Life Sentences serves up a powerful personal tale of the devastation wrought by the Arab-Israeli conflict, as well as a reminder of how the sins of the father can be visited upon the son. Recommended.
The movie oscillates between close up shots of Nimer as he sits in front of the camera, to shots of Nimer revisiting the old places he grew up. He prays in his old Ultra-Orthodox Yeshiva, and he visits his old boarding school. The memories are very much present for him as he wanders these old haunts.
“Life Sentences” follows Nimer’s journey from Israel to Canada, and from Tunisia back to Israel. It examines an isolated, tortured childhood and a conflicted adulthood. A profoundly affecting film, it addresses the question of identity, how we define ourselves and, perhaps more crucially, how others define us.
This complex and curious story, with its twists and turns, seems to embody the many dilemmas of the Middle East. Momi/Shlomo/Namir’s tale illustrates the possibilities of finding love in both cultures despite each religion opposing such unions. And who is he?
“What am I?” he asks in the film. “According to Muslims, I am a Muslim. According to Jews, I am a Jew. If I go by which is the more ancient people, I would be a Jew. If I go by which is the more populous people, I would be a Muslim.” It is not, he stresses towards the end of the 94-minute movie, that he wants to be part of both religions and nations - its more that he is, or he wants, none of it.
Festival & Awards
Jerusalem Film Festival
Silicon Valley Jewish Film Festival
45th Annual USA Film Festival
San Diego Jewish Film Festival - 2015
Millenium Film Festival - 2014
“Objectif d’Or” the Grand Award
Oakland International Film Festival - 2015
Accolade Global Film Competition - 2015
Award of Merit
St. Louis International Film Festival - 2015
Student Academy Awards - 2014
First Run Film Festival - 2014
IDFA - 2014
Toronto Jewish Film Festival - 2014
New York Film Festival - 2014
First Run Film Festival - 2014
Milano Film Festival - 2014
Silicon Valley Jewish Film Festival - 2014
Millenium International Documentary Film Festival - 2014
Annual East Bay International Jewish Film Festival - 2014