Alam

Directed by Firas Khoury
Film Movement
2022
109 Minutes
Tunisia, Palestine, France, Saudi Arabia, Qatar
Arabic, Hebrew
Coming of Age, Drama
NR
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DVD
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Despite being part of a young generation of Palestinian Arabs whose families chose to stay and challenge the Israeli state after Al-Nakba, 17-year-old Tamer and his friends are just like any other group of teenage boys. They clumsily search for drugs, flirt with girls, play video games, and slack off at school. However, when a beautiful new student named Maysaa​​’ joins their class Tamer immediately falls for her and, by association, is drawn into her political activism. Together they join fellow classmate, Safwat, in an operation to covertly raise the Palestinian flag and peacefully disrupt the local celebrations planned for Israel’s Independence Day – otherwise known to Palestinians as a day of mourning and memorialization for their displacement 70 years prior. Unsure of his own political convictions, Tamer must quickly determine what matters to him and what price he is willing to pay for freedom.

A skillful examination of the fraught political awakening young Palestinians are forced to undergo, this TIFF world premiere “perfectly captures teenage fearlessness and bravado along with a certain cluelessness about how the real-world works” (Variety). A striking debut feature film from Firas Khoury, ALAM marries conversations around nationalism and iconography with the universal themes of growing up.

Cast

  • Mahmoud Bakri
  • Sereen Khass
  • Saleh Bakri
  • Mohammad Karaki
DVD Features

Sound: 5.1 Surround & 2.0 Stereo

Discs: 1

  • Highest Rating
    "Khoury’s convincing and engaging screenplay perfectly captures teenage fearlessness and bravado along with a certain cluelessness about how the real world works. This intelligent, sensitive treatment of the rarely seen, everyday lives of young Palestinian citizens of Israel marks tyro feature writer-director Firas Khoury as a talent to watch...."
    Alissa Simon, Variety
  • Highest Rating
    "One of the Best Films of the Year (So Far). The conversations around Palestine and Israel often don’t leave much room for nuance, but Firaz Khoury’s moving coming-of-age film offers a corrective. This is a marvelous, mesmerizing film that offers no easy answers. "
    Bilge Ebiri, Vulture
  • Highest Rating
    "Khoury’s profoundly moving and alarming film is focused on young people growing into adult identities in a place and time full of dangerous contradictions. Its timeliness cannot be ignored."
    Bradley Gibson, Film Threat
  • Highest Rating
    "Timely and incredibly gutting, “Alam,” set in a Palestinian village under Israeli occupation, offers a beautifully etched portrait of what it’s like to grow up amid the debris of your ancestor’s dreams."
    Devika Girish, The New York Times
  • Highest Rating
    "This directorial debut which looks at a new third generation of Palestinians living in Israel is a fascinating take on a group of young people whose future is so constrained it almost compresses the screen."
    Fionnuala Halligan, Screen Daily
  • Highest Rating
    "...crackles with the energy of both the insouciance of teenage rebellion and hedonism, and the awakening of political activism."
    Laurence Boyce, Cineuropa
  • Highest Rating
    "ALAM is a modern decolonial masterpiece that should be seen by all, especially now. There are few films that aren’t documentaries that communicate what the Palestinian Arabs must live under."
    Chirag Mangnaik, The Sugarland Express
  • Highest Rating
    "...ALAM stimulates audiences to ponder the ever-changing meaning of iconographies and how, similarly, histories are rewritten as generations pass."
    Krishnanunni Padinjassery, High on Films
  • Highest Rating
    "Alam is an enjoyable viewing experience, which many films dealing with politics are not. I credit the filmmaker for the humanity that he’s instilled into the picture."
    Jason Delgado, Film Threat
  • Highest Rating
    "Khoury carefully portrays the gutsy and, at times, naive drive of a youth awakened by the politics of identity, nationalism and systemic oppression."
    Hanna Flint, The New Arab
  • Highest Rating
    "...An important title, both for the presentation of an aspect of Palestinian life rarely shown in cinema, and for the way it implements the coming-of-age aspect of the narrative in order to do so."
    Panos Kotzathanasis, Asian Movie Pulse
  • Highest Rating
    "Khoury’s light touch with a serious-minded script keeps the stakes low but intensely personal in what is essentially a story of a kid who risks his scholastic career, his good relations with his family and his “future” to impress a girl. And then Khoury lets us see that the stakes are indeed high, that everything Maysaá, Safwat and Adel is saying is true and that speaking out against injustice is a civic duty, even in places where it isn’t a civil right."
    Roger Moore, Movie Nation

Awards & Recognition

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