The Syrian Bride

From Apr ’06 Spotlight: The internationally award-winning film The Syrian Bride opens at Chicago’s Music Box Theater on Southport on April 7. Shot in and around the city of Majdal Shams in the Golan Heights, Bride’s plotline hinges on a Druze woman’s imminent marriage to a man on the Syrian side of the border. Family members congregate to see her off, knowing that once she crosses over, she might never return.

The film is a collaborative effort between Israeli director Eran Riklis and Palestinian writer Suha Arraf, and features a diverse cast of actors speaking a mix of languages (Arabic, English, Hebrew, and Russian) appropriately keyed to each scene.

The heart of the film belongs to renowned Palestinian actress Hiam Abbas, who plays the bride’s sister “Amal.” A married woman with two teenage daughters, Amal has a clear-eyed view of the choices available to women in her culture. Last October, when Hiam was here for the Chicago International Film Festival, I asked her if Amal’s self-possessed dialogue was realistic. “It’s possible,” she said. “The price would be very heavy. Then it’s about you as a person to kind of calculate the price you have to pay for each step you’re doing in your life… I always create a back story to my character, even when I play a small role. I need to know, before I get to the set, where I come from. Eran has told me that for him, the first time we met, as soon as I walked into that room, I was a character for him.”

For more details, visit the official website: http://www.syrianbride.com.

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