2014 Oscar® Nominated Foreign-Language Film Review: OMAR

While not one Spanish-language film (nor Português) has been nominated this year for a Best Foreign Film by Oscar®, this is not to say the 86th Academy nominees are not worthy of the honor. One example is the powerful film OMAR representing Palestine.

Hany Abu-Assad’s (Paradise Now) OMAR is a political thriller that shifts into a psychological thriller, yet remains consistently a romantic tragedy.

With the oppression endured by the Occupied West Bank as illustrated by the Isolation Wall as the backdrop, the weight of the film falls heavily on the actor portraying the titular character. First-time film actor Adam Bakri rises to the task, communicating through his eyes as much as the film’s dialogue.

Bakri is greatly supported by veteran actor Waleed F. Zuaiter who portrays Rami, his friendly enemy who threatens Omar’s love interest in order to gain his cooperation, when brutal interrogation does not.

But, Omar’s friends are the heart and humor of the film. Omar joins his childhood friends, the militant-minded Tarek (Eyad Hourani) and joke-telling Amjad (Samer Bisharat), to plan a violent attack against their oppressors as personified by Israeli border patrol guards. Keep in the dark, is Nadia (Leem Lubany), the beautiful young sister of Tarek, who is equally pursued by Omar and Amjad.

Once Omar is captured in a raid after the assault, the battle for freedom shifts to a battle for Omar’s loyalty.  Rami needs Omar to betray his rebelling friends. The conflicted Omar struggles to balance his moral integrity to remain loyal to his friends and the same time preserve his fragile love relationship built with Nadia.

His release from the Israelis is suspicious to his community of friends, fellow freedom fighters, neighbors and Nadia as well. Paranoia ensues. The upcoming tragic “Romeo & Juliet” twist is wrapped up with a provocative conclusion. 

Winner Jury Prize Un Certain Regard Cannes Film Festival

  • A film by Hany Abu-Assad
  • Country: Palestine
  • Language: Arabic/Hebrew w/ English subtitles
  • Running Time: 98 minutes

Watch the trailer for OMAR:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=OPcvn4Mtglc

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