The Milky Way

  • 1997
  • Movie
  • NR
  • Drama

Clearly made on a shoestring, this surprisingly effective and moving film, set in a Arab-Israeli village in 1964, introduces us to a group of villagers whose lives are linked by both a mutual history of loss (a title card explains that many of them were robbed of family members by the war of 1948) and their present powerlessness. Mabruq (Suheil Haddad),...read more

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Reviewed by Sandra Contreras
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Clearly made on a shoestring, this surprisingly effective and moving film, set in a Arab-Israeli village in 1964, introduces us to a group of villagers whose lives are linked by both a mutual history of loss (a title card explains that many of

them were robbed of family members by the war of 1948) and their present powerlessness. Mabruq (Suheil Haddad), one of the walking wounded, is the village idiot. Mahmmud (Muhammad Bakri), a metal worker, takes care of Mabruq and courts schoolteacher Suad (Amal Murkus). Suad is also coveted by

Muhammed (Salim Dau), the dissolute son of the village's leader, the Mukhtar (Makra Khoury). The Mukhtar, meanwhile, is coping with a crisis involving forged work permits that has the tyrannical (and possibly corrupt) Military Governor (Yussef Abu Warda) on his back. Living under occupation,

dependent on the whims of the Military Governor and the Mukhtar, the villagers struggle with their memories and with the exigencies of the present. The spoiled Muhammed grows increasingly incensed about losing Suad to Mahmmud, and the peremptory arrest and torture of teacher Ahmad (Mahmmud Abu

Jazi) enrages the entire village: The two events build to a dramatic, if too pat, ending. The leisurely pace at which writer-director Ali Nassar permits these events to unfold allows us to observe a rapidly disappearing way of life at the moment of its disintegration. Some viewers will object to

Nassar's depiction of the Israeli soldiers as undifferentiated brutes, but Nassar is deliberately focusing on the Palestinian side of the story of Palestinian and Israeli relations. And the thuggish soldiers aside, Nassar's story is an age-old one, about simple people trying to live their lives

after losing their national sovereignty and, even more poignantly, their personal autonomy.

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  • Released: 1997
  • Rating: NR
  • Review: Clearly made on a shoestring, this surprisingly effective and moving film, set in a Arab-Israeli village in 1964, introduces us to a group of villagers whose lives are linked by both a mutual history of loss (a title card explains that many of them were r… (more)

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