Rana's Wedding: Jerusalem, Another Day

  • 2002
  • Movie
  • NR
  • Drama

A pretty but sheltered young woman has just hours to find — and marry — her boyfriend before her frustrated father forces her to choose a husband from his own list of "eligible" bachelors. It might sound like the premise of a hilarious screwball comedy, but Palestinian-born director Hany Abu-Assad uses this potentially comedic situation to express...read more

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Reviewed by Ken Fox
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A pretty but sheltered young woman has just hours to find — and marry — her boyfriend before her frustrated father forces her to choose a husband from his own list of "eligible" bachelors. It might sound like the premise of a hilarious screwball comedy, but Palestinian-born director Hany Abu-Assad uses this potentially comedic situation to express his disgust with the oppressive and often humiliating conditions Arabs of Israeli-occupied territories face each and every day. The film opens early one Tuesday morning as Rana (the lovely Clara Khoury) prepares to leave the safety of her father's spacious home in East Jerusalem in order to track down her boyfriend Khalil (Khalifa Natour), the director of a theater group in the West Bank town of Ramallah. Rana has no time to waste: Her father (Zuher Fahoum) insists she either choose a husband from among the list of prosperous men he's selected for her, or she can accompany him on the 4 o'clock flight to Egypt, where she'll finish out her studies. Unsure of Khalil's whereabouts, Rana first scours her East Jerusalem neighborhood, where she's eyed with suspicion by the Israeli soldiers who police the streets. When she hears that Khalil has spent the night at the theater in Ramallah after a bombing made returning to Jerusalem impossible, she heads for the West Bank, her personal fears and doubts about her upcoming nuptials overshadowed by increasing signs of the violence that has besieged her people. It's a bit slow going at first — there's very little dialogue and a lot of hurry-up-and-wait as Rana knocks on doors, dials Khalil's number on her cell phone and loiters outside a lawyer's office, hoping to catch a glimpse of one of her father's choices. But once Rana's reunited with her boyfriend, the film becomes a race against the clock as they attempt to get back to East Jerusalem before her father leaves for Egypt, while the Israeli restrictions on Palestinian movement throw one obstacle after another across their paths. As in Elia Suleiman's striking DIVINE INTERVENTION, lovers who must pass checkpoints and run a gauntlet of armed soldiers in order to simply be together becomes a powerful metaphor for life under military occupation. Khoury may be a few years too old to play a minor still squirming under her father's thumb, but her performance as a timid young woman who finds strength while looking for a husband is quite affecting. (In Arabic with English subtitles.)

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  • Released: 2002
  • Rating: NR
  • Review: A pretty but sheltered young woman has just hours to find — and marry — her boyfriend before her frustrated father forces her to choose a husband from his own list of "eligible" bachelors. It might sound like the premise of a hilarious screwball… (more)

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