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The Weekend Australian - Review - - Out & About - David Strat­ton Stephen Romei

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

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