AS THE ICONIC BUILDING FLASHED ACROSS my television screen, I was saddened to see the damage. Its beautiful white terra-cotta tiles at street level had been broken or spray painted with graffiti. The glass in the entrance doors had been smashed to pieces. All I could do was sit there and stew in my feelings of anger that was bubbling up. This is something I do not understand; why some protesters feel the need to destroy random pieces of property. Before you tell me, they are making a point, I want to be clear that I believe they have the right to protest; whether it is a peaceful march or a sit-in, they have every right to protest. The thing I do not understand is the correlation between a person’s cause and the destruction of an object. Sure, if one felt let us say that voice enabled smart speakers were evil, then I can understand why a person is making a public statement by breaking the devices with a sledgehammer in the middle of the street. But to attack public property or burn down stores, I do not see that act as a productive use of one’s time in getting their message across. Staging a protest at the corporate headquarters of a company that is contributing to the deforestation of the rainforest is totally understandable and valid, in my opinion. But setting fire to the public train station that is underneath the company is not productive and does more harm I feel. MY DESIRE TO PROTECT PUBLIC PROPERTY is born in the love I have for the city of my birth. I have lived in my city all of my life and I am proud of it. Like any city in the world it has its flaws; however, it has things that are unique to it. I mentioned in an older movie review that when I was growing up, I came up with an idea to run a sightseeing company that used limousines instead of buses to transport small groups of people around the city. One of my favorite things to do is take out of town visitors on a tour of the city and its surrounding areas. There is so much to explore and discover just within the city limits that I could spend days dragging visitors to every corner of my city. Besides loving my tour guide responsibilities, I absolutely enjoy when I visit an out of town friend/relative who does the same thing by showing me all the sights in their city. I do not know what to call my strong feelings about my city; pride, love, protective or a combination of them? I just know I do not what anyone tearing down what has been created for its inhabitants. This is the reason I was impressed with the work that was being done by the main characters in this dramatic war drama. REFUSING TO END THE MISSION THEY started, an elite group of officers continue to face death as they try to rid their city from forces who have been tearing it down. With Waleed Elgadi (Four Lions, A Hologram for the King) as Colonel Kaveh Afsahani, Hayat Kamille (Murder on the Orient Express, Death on the Nile) as Hayat, Thaer Al-Shayei (Fears, The Antwerp Dolls) as Hooka, Suhail Dabbach (The Hurt Locker, Whiskey Tango Foxtrot) as Jasem and Adam Bessa (The Blessed, Extraction) as Kawa; this film based on a true story was filled with gripping intensity. Set in what was Iraq’s 2ndlargest city, the non-stop actions of this elite squad were incredible to watch. I thought the direction was in synch with the script and appreciated the moments that were given for emotional release. Despite the violent scenes with blood, I could not stop watching what was taking place in the story and truly, what a story. Arabic was spoken with English subtitles.
3 ½ stars
In my family once we sit ourselves down at the kitchen or dining room table, we are there for the night. None of this retiring to the den or let us go to the basement stuff; we just sit and enjoy our food all the way through dessert. I like to say life is uncertain, eat dessert first. When I was little I realized the seat of power was my mother and her sisters sitting around the kitchen table. All decisions were decided by them as my father and uncles were seated around the television set. Because of my upbringing, I enjoyed this simple, bittersweet movie. Watching the extended family with its love for each other and their dysfunctions brought back memories to me. Sixty year old Slimane Beiji, played by newcomer Habib Boufares, was struggling with his dockyard job at the port of Sete. His hours were reduced to the point he was struggling to make ends meet. One form of payment was his ability to bring fresh fish to his children and ex-wife, who would make the best fish couscous. As Slimane’s family crowded around the table sharing stories and food, he retired to his small room, that he rented nearby. When a plate of food was sent to him, Slimane saw an opportunity to make a dream he had come true. He would open a restaurant. With little resources, Slimane would need to depend on his family to make it happen, plus his ex-wife’s couscous. The majority of the cast were non-actors which made family scenes more believable. I loved the way the intimacy was formed with the close up filming. The family dynamics seemed utterly real as events played out. This multi film festival winner was a touching story that made the heart ache. French and Arabic with English subtitles.
3 stars — DVD