Rotterdam – Having been well received by the audience and Western critics, Muayad Alayan’s new feature The Reports on Sarah and Saleem, the only Palestinian film to participate in the International Film Festival Rotterdam this year, is expected to embark on an international journey at several festivals after its world premiere on Sunday.
Alayan, a resident of Jerusalem, tries to embody the complexity of life in the occupied territories. Through the struggle of narratives, he thrives to make the film interestingly complex. Although its synopsis mentions a relationship between an Israeli woman and a Palestinian man, the film is more than the oft-repeated Romeo and Juliet theme.
An affair between an Israeli female café owner (Sivane Kretchner) and a Palestinian delivery man (Adeeb Safadi) takes a wrong turn when the man is arrested by Israeli forces who accuse him of trying to recruit his lover to allegedly work for the Palestinians. The accusation and the case do not only affect the lives of the two protagonists, but also radically impact their families.
Through different narratives and radically diverse methods, with each side trying to interpret and reproduce the story of this affair, we see the very diversity that makes Jerusalem special, but also makes it a very unpredictable place.