Last year’s Academy Awards received an entry from Israel for their Best International Feature Film category. That film is Let It Be Morning. Now, even though I had not watched this award entry last year, for consideration, I was recently given the opportunity to review it for this year’s limited theatrical release in the U.S. I must say I found the entire premise and the depiction of the movie’s characters mostly compelling and moving, but also feel that the film does drag in moments. It does, however, reflect a rather thought-provoking experience of a culture caught up in the middle of a lengthy conflict which has troubled both the nations of Palestine and Israel.
The movie depicts the troubles of Palestinian-born Sami (Alex Bakri) and his family, following the recent celebration of marriage between Sami’s brother and his wife. Though Sami was born and raised in Palestine, he has since had a moderately successful career and life with his wife and child in Israel. As relations have taken a turn for the worse between the countries, Sami, his wife, and son find themselves trapped in Palestine, because the Israeli government has chosen to seal off the border. With no choice, but to remain in his hometown, this new obstacle in Sami’s life forces him to face his issues with his identity, along with the more recent troubles with his marriage.
Written and directed by Eran Kolirin, Let It Be Morning offers an intimate portrait of a man and his family who have reached a crossroads between their past problems and the the more recent issues that have occurred. The movie is both solidly directed and written, and feels very genuine as a depiction of real people who have had this actual experience. Though my knowledge of the Palestinian culture is very limited, I feel that there is plently of thematic material, of which people of any culture and nationality can find common ground.
There are several scenes that reflect real problems that exist in all kinds of marriages and cultures. And that is what I feel what makes this film resonate on an international level. To the movie’s benefit, the entire cast performs wonderfully in fleshing out their characters. The two major standouts are definitely Alex Bakri and Juna Suleiman who star as husband and wife, Sami and Mira. These are the two actors which give this movie its yearning hearts. Sami struggles with the compromise between his past life and his current status in life, while Mira is clearly unhappy with the direction her marriage has taken. Mira burns with much passion for happiness and love, but feels that Sami’s priorities have gone astray.
The movie also reflects, quite poignantly, a culture caught up in a conflict that they don’t really want. They are stuck in the middle, along with their own personal struggles. That main situation is what kept me invested in the movie, and has enlightened me further about the troubles between Israel and Palestine. Let It Be Morning opened in New York City on February 3, and is about to receive further releases on February 10 and 17. It is a remarkable movie that I recommend.