"The Reports On Sarah & Saleem"--movie review
Friday, July 12, 2019
Sarah, a cafe owner, is cheating on her husband, Israeli army Colonel David, with Saleem, a delivery driver whose wife Bisa is pregnant, which is nothing new in the world of movies and television. The conflict here is that Sarah and David are Israelis while Saleem and Bisa are Palestinian and the affair takes on geopolitical dimensions when Saleem is arrested under not quite believable circumstances.
Going back and forth between West and East Jerusalem, the illicit affair and the seemingly normal home lives of both couples the movie goes a bit awry from the point of Saleem's arrest, the unsuspecting spouses finding out what is going on and the reactions of all 4 with 1 having to lie in the hope of saving their marriage. The second half of the movie is a little over the top when it becomes a 'thriller'. A couple of scenes are way too melodramatic if not completely explainable but they do raise expectations of topics to be discussed after the movie.
Sivane Kretchner (Sarah), Maisa Abd Elhadi (Bisa), Adeeb Safadi (Saleem) and Ishai Golan (David) give excellent performances with Elhadi having the greater arc of change. Though at times it is difficult to tell which side the officials are on the supporting cast does first rate job with Hanan Hillo a standout as public defender while Rebecca Esmeralda Telhami, as Sarah's employee, has a line that explains a lot of what the politics of Jews and Arabs are all about.
The screenplay by Rami Alayan, brother of the director, Muayad Alayan, has to take some of the blame for not as clear last third of the picture while both deserve the credit for the open-ended scene.
"The Reports of Sarah & Saleem" is a good movie but a little too long and one too many shots of the hillside village.