Wedding in Galilee | Chicago Reader

Wedding in Galilee

The mukhtar (chief) of an occupied Arab Palestinian village (Ali Mohammed Akili) wants to hold a traditional, full-scale wedding for his son (Nazih Akly), but the Israeli military governor will allow it only if he and his officers are the guests of honor. As the ceremonies and festivities gradually unfold over a tense day and night, Belgian-based writer-director Michel Khleifi, who grew up in Nazareth, paints an intimate and multilayered view of the village and its various factions, including the three generations of the mukhtar's family. Beautifully filmed and edited, and effectively acted by nonprofessionals, this 1987 feature moves between an alienated grandfather, a group of flirtatious teenage girls, an angry group of young male terrorists, an impotent groom and resourceful and beautiful bride (Anna Achdian) who are expected to offer proof of their marriage's consummation in the form of a bloody sheet, a horse that has strayed into a minefield, an Israeli woman soldier who changes into Arab clothes, and other diverse elements, with the mukhtar in most cases providing both the narrative linkage and a sense of how the village is run from within. Eschewing propaganda for an in-depth portrait, this is a fluid and lovely film that speaks volumes about Palestinian life. In Arabic with subtitles; 116 min.

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