August 13, 2009

"Strangers" an IFC Movie Makes for a Strange Romance Against the Backdrop of a World Cup Soccer Final!


Having just watched the World Cup Qualifier soccer match between Mexico and US at Azteca, I couldn’t resist Erez Tadmor and Guy Nattiv’s “Strangers”, an IFC movie (watch trailer) that won the ‘Viewers Award” at the 2008 Sundance Film Festival. It is a movie set against the backdrop of the World Cup Soccer Final in Berlin, but halfway through, the action moves to France, the home of Rana the illegal Palestinian immigrant, also the female lead in the movie. However, immigration is not the main focus of the film. The film is about a bond that develops between two unlikely lovers, who under normal circumstances would have had the Western Wall of Jerusalem dividing them. Eyal, the male protagonist, and Rana meet in Germany, where both have come to watch the Soccer World Cup final. A chance encounter in a foreign country, between two lonely soccer lovers develops into a passionate relationship which unfortunately gets cut-short when Rana has to rush back to Paris where she lives.

The movie is an easy watch with Lubna Azabal doing a remarkable job as the feisty liberal who lives out the belief that ‘we always have choices’. Leron Levo as Eyal, the Israeli tourist, has a lanky laid back charm that grows on Lubna as much as it does on the viewer as the movie progresses. Moreover, the camaraderie that the two share on screen is all pervasive and reinforces the underlying message of the movie, of love being all powerful. But that does not make the movie a preachy-mushy romance because every now and again we see reality intervene when Eyal and Rana watch harsh footage of the ongoing Palestinian Israeli conflict on TV, to which both react in their unique ways.

"Strangers", though no ground breaker in terms of its theme or its setting, is certainly worth watching for the simple reason that it captures both heart and imagination. If you are a soccer lover, you will enjoy the movie even more because “Strangers” also showcases the universality of soccer to bring together the most disparate and the most unlikely.

8 comments:

Georg said...

Hallo Id,

Frankly, I wouldn't be astonished if your review is better than the movie.
Georg

Saadia said...

Hmm...I wonder if I can find this, here in Lahore.

Id it is said...

Saadia,
I'm almost sure you'll find it online in case you are not able to find it at a video store...

Saadia said...

Thanks! I'll look it up online too.

EXSENO said...

I love soccer, but the trailer makes it look more like a love story. Yet I do get the idea that there may be a lot more to the movie then soccer and romance. I'd like to see it.

Pavitra said...

I think such a focus of two lonely soccer fans meeting and falling in love can only be carried off if the screen play and direction are superb. It must have been for it to leave such an impression on you.

If I come across it, I'll buy it :-)

D said...

India won the Nehru cup again...i too wish i ever meet someone on the stands...but guess i was too busy shouting :)

Andrea said...

Mythology is simply defined as stories about a set of principles, beliefs, and religion. Although not traditionally considered a myth, Kate Chopin’s bildungsroman novella, The Awakening, shares some similarities to mythological writings. Chopin’s piece is the narration of a woman who breaks free of society’s ignorant restrictions. The protagonist, Edna Pontellier, listens to her heart instead of the strict Créole community in which she belongs. This results in a major dissension between her and her friends and family. After thoroughly dissecting Chopin’s work, many aspects of mythology can be found within the text. Although every facet of mythology is not present within this controversial novella, these stories of oral tradition and The Awakening do overlap in various areas including: the use of symbolism, representation of worldview, and presentation of social structures. The intense incorporation of symbolism integrated throughout the text is extremely relatable to the constant use of metaphors found in mythology. Just as the birds are used to represent Edna’s struggle within her community, myths are hardly ever found without some sort of symbol to display societal issues or creation motifs. The representation of a worldview is another aspect which is almost always present within a myth. Gender roles, sexuality, creation motifs, and the roles of gods are just a few other examples of the many different areas that myths aided in explaining. This is like The Awakening because the novella displays the worldview of the oppression of women. The goal of myths are often to preserve the traditions and social norms of ancient cultures. The goal of myths are often to preserve the traditions and social norms of ancient cultures. The non-western belief of matrilinial societies is the goal that the Edna is striving for, although she fails, due to the fact she is one individual attempting to lead a revolution in a tradition based community. Although the social structures of The Awakening may not fit perfectly into a myths paradigm, it is obvious that The Awakening may someday be considered a myth to future generations.