September 26, 2006
Eran Riklis's "The Syrian Bride"
A movie that lays bare what a broken world does to human relationships. Eran Riklis's movie brings together an Israeli- Palestinian crew to take us to one of the most controversial geographic locations on the globe, Golan Heights. A place where national boundaries become shards that cut up peoples lives into shreds and every part seems to be moaning the other.
"Mona's wedding day may be the saddest day of her life" is how the movie begins. The rest of the movie goes about showing how that happens in Golan Heights, a part of Syria that is 'occupied' by Israel. The people living there are the 'Druze', a monotheistic people who follow an early offshoot of Islam, and who reside primarily in Lebanon, although there are smaller communities in Israel, Syria, and Jordan. Mona is the Syrian Bride who lives in Golan Heights and is to marry a famous television artist from Damascus. The two have never met, and when they do it is across a barbed wire fence and a checkpost manned by some unique personalities. Two ineffective and helpless United Nations personnel add to the motley crew at the checkpost where Mona is to meet her fiance and leave her family and home forever to go to Syria.
This momentuous event brings Mona's immediate family, her estranged brother and his Russian wife, her other brother, Marwan, of the dubious reputation, Amal her 'rebel' sister with her ultra-conservative husband to Golan Heights; all under one roof despite their differences. The house is a microcosmic representation of the unrest that prevails in the Middle East. The suspicions, the rumours, the petty differences, the attacks, the defences, and the temporary truces within those walls expose the fractured relationships within a family and also those within an entire region.
A thought-provoking and informative foreign film.