In Arabic and Hebrew with English subtitles.
Winner, Best Israeli Film, Haifa International Film Festival, 2018
A Palestinian and an Israeli walk into a military checkpoint on the West Bank…It may not sound like a promising setup for a punchline, but in Tel Aviv on Fire, director Sameh Zoabi will still make you laugh. One spoiler: Tel Aviv does not burst into flames. But Salam’s (Kais Nashif) career might. Salam is a hapless 40-something Palestinian who has just landed a small job on a soap opera, thanks to the generosity—or pity— of the producer (who also happens to be his uncle). Gangly and unkempt, Salam drives blearily to studio each morning through a military checkpoint between his home in Jerusalem and work in Ramallah. An encounter at the checkpoint with an Israeli captain, Assi (Yaniv Biton), catapults Salam to a new job as a writer, with the secret condition that Assi will exert control over the script. But tensions flare when Assi and the show’s Arabic financial backers disagree on the show’s ending. Salam finds himself trapped in a political minefield: a predicament nearly as absurd as, well, something you’d watch on TV.
Director: Sameh Zoabi.
Starring: Kais Nashif, Yaniv Biton, Lubna Azabal, Maisa Abd Elhadi and Salim Dau (Fauda)
“Soap opera meets Middle East politics.” —Nora McGreevy, Boston Globe