Wajib (M) Wajib is, rather surprisingly, a comedy. Writer-director Annemarie Jacir tells a story involving Palestinian Christians who are trying to make the most of life in the historic city of Nazareth. Amal (Maria Zreik) is about to be married. Her brother Shadi (Saleh Bakri) has returned for the big event. The film is structured around the ritual by which invitations to the wedding are hand-delivered to the prospective guests. This task is undertaken by Shadi and his father, Abu Shadi (Mohammad Bakri), a schoolteacher. Father and son make an odd couple. Shadi objects to the fact Abu Shadi insists on handing out invitations to people Shadi believes to be spies for Israel, representatives of the repressive surveillance under which all Palestinians are forced to live. The film’s quiet humour is beautifully handled by the director. The revelations offers about the lives of ordinary Palestinians are suffused with stoic wisdom.
Alpha (M) One suggestion regarding watching this pre-civilisation boy-meets-wolf movie is to go into it knowing as little about it as possible. My two 13-year-old co-viewers and I thought we were going to see a Disney-like animation about how humans and dogs became friends. That is the overall theme, but this is a real movie, not a comic. The director is Albert Hughes and the human star of Alpha is Australian actor Kodi SmitMcPhee. I say human star because the co-star is a wolfdog named Chuck. He is the wolf that comes into the life of SmitMcPhee’s Keda, a young man who is given up for dead on his first hunting expedition in iceage Europe. Keda calls him Alpha. There’s a significant twist at the end that takes this 20,000-year-old story smack into the #MeToo moment.
A Star is Born