In their second feature film, Gaza My Love, released Wednesday in France, the unconventional twins Arab and Tarzan Nasser recount the amorous encounter between two modest Gazans: a 60-year-old fisherman and an old boy and a seamstress in the market, who is raising her daughter alone.
In a traditional society, where police and religion are omnipresent, the rapprochement of these lonely Gazans hearts is already not obvious. But when fate steps in, trouble begins: the main character accidentally fishes off an ancient statue of Apollo, endowed with an erect penis, which he tries to hide at home.
Family, police, Islamist activists, all of Gazan society is embarrassed by this discovery and these two characters who do not walk in step. The film, tinged with absurdity, “is inspired by everyday life in Gaza, far from the clichés“, explains to AFP Arab Nasser, whose father inspired a facet of the main character.
The latter does not fit into any box: he is not a candidate for emigration, listens to music on old cassettes, does not touch politics or religion and has erotic dreams even when he is thrown away. jail… “He’s a very normal Gazan, not involved in politics, as there are plenty of them“, continues Arab Nasser.
The two 33-year-old Palestinian filmmakers with the look of metal musicians (leather jackets, shoulder length hair and a smoky beard), noticed in 2015 with their first film Degraded shown at the Critics’ Week in Cannes, held to build a story about the daily life of those Palestinians who never get on the news.
“If you look at the countries around Gaza, even in Egypt, people don’t know anything about Gazans, their real life, only what they see on the news.“, laments his twin brother Tarzan. In a territory whose”memory has been destroyed“by the clashes with Israel, “we wanted to turn a love story away from politics and the rest“, they specify. But the omnipresent conflict overtakes everything, a permanent backdrop in the film: bombings, military and police pressure …
Actress Hiam Abbas was the guest of Franceinfo at 11 p.m. on Monday, October 4, 2021
With these brothers who have been living in France for several years, the cinema is tender and desperate at the same time. “This is not a comedy, there are no jokes, it is about the real life of Gazans, who have to deal with humor in order to survive. Otherwise they would just have to kill themselves“, said Tarzan.”The sky is busy, everything is busy, and (Gazans) live there, there is no horizon“, he continues.
The film ends with a beautiful scene between the two lovers, on the small fishing boat and under the eye of Israeli drones, at the limit of the meager waters conceded to the Palestinians. The couple is played by Salim Daw, Palestinian actor seen in particular in the series The office of legends, and by the Franco-Palestinian actress Hiam Abbass, who has toured with Patrice Chéreau or Jean Becker but also in Hollywood.