After spending more than a decade in prison for a failed attack on an Israeli settler, Ziad struggles to readjust to life in Ramallah, in Bassam Jarbawi’s incisive drama examining the effects of the Occupation and its attendant traumas.
After more than a decade in an Israeli jail, newly released Ziad doesn’t recognize the world around him. He is a free man but his friends have moved on, technology has changed, and dating seems impossible. Though hailed as a hero for his involvement in a failed attack on a settler — the act that led to his imprisonment — the young Palestinian man has doubts about whether his actions had any real meaning.
Now living back at home in Ramallah, Ziad’s attempts to adjust to life on the outside prove to be frustratingly slow: he has no education, no trade, and he’s weighed down by an incredible sadness as he tries to live what feels like an already lost life. (Ziad Bakri, member of the famed Palestinian acting family, portrays the protagonist’s anguish and heavy stoicism with striking intensity.) When he meets a young Palestinian–American filmmaker, it becomes clear Ziad’s problems aren’t just sociological, but also psychological. And with no real help to heal this unseen wound, it seems that he might end up exactly where he began.
Shot on location in the West Bank with an almost entirely Palestinian crew, Bassam Jarbawi’s feature debut is an important exploration of mental trauma, an invisible effect of the ongoing Occupation.