Review: ‘Improvisation’

Samir, Wissam and Adnan Joubran have toured the world as the Trio Joubran, playing the ancient oud, similar to a mandolin. Raed Andoni's one-hour doc "Improvisation" is less about their unique gifts, however, than their uneasy lives as Arabs holding Israeli passports, with all the unhappy ironies that entails.

Among the most famous Palestinian musicians today, Samir, Wissam and Adnan Joubran have toured the world as the Trio Joubran, playing the ancient oud, similar to a mandolin. Raed Andoni’s one-hour doc “Improvisation” is less about their unique gifts, however, than their uneasy lives as Arabs holding Israeli passports, with all the unhappy ironies that entails. Like the director’s well-received doc “The Inner Tour,” the pic uses a captivating subject to explore the human face of the Mideast crisis. This smoothly made, uncontroversial work, which received a grant from the Sundance Institute, should find TV outlets along with fest dates.

Center stage is serious bandleader Samir. His music, he says, is inspired by politics and agony, and many of his compositions relate to the Palestinian experience. Less political are young Adnan, the last to join the Trio, and Wissam, who plans to study lute-making at the Stradivarius Institute in Italy. The sons of a Nazareth master luthier, the musical protags are shown having a difficult reunion in Ramallah, given restrictions on Israelis traveling to the West Bank. Ending circles back to their music in an open-air concert in Paris.

Improvisation

Palestinian

Production

A DAR Films production in association with ARTE France, YLE. Produced by Saed Andoni. Directed, written by Raed Andoni.

Crew

Camera (color, DV), Hanna Abu Sada, Raed Andoni, Catherine Rios, Laurent Didier; editor, Saed Andoni; music, Trio Joubran. Reviewed at Dubai Film Festival (Arabian Nights), Dec. 13, 2005. Arabic, English, Italian dialogue. Running time: 60 MIN.
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