When an Israeli and a Palestinian marry, they lose the security and social network taken for granted by other citizens. Well-crafted docu “Love During Wartime” uses the story of Jewish dancer Jasmin Avissar and Muslim artist Osama Zatar (aka “Assi”) to examine this little-discussed fallout from the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Swedish helmer Gabriella Bier poignantly shows the indomitable pair’s increasing frustration and outrage as circumstances prevent them from living as a couple among family and friends in either country. Broadcasters, fests, Jewish-interest and human-rights events should take note.When the controversial Israeli citizenship law prevents Ramallah-born Zatar from living with Avissar in Israel, and harassment from locals eliminates the possibility of them living in the West Bank, they opt for Germany, where Avissar’s mother was born. But Teuton visa restrictions and apparent prejudice create problems. Speaking separately and together, the articulate, attractive young people display a wry humor about the price they have to pay for love. Commentary from Avissar’s liberal parents, an attorney and Zatar’s siblings and friends in the Palestinian territories adds insight. Intimate production package feels as warm as its subjects. Helmer is cousin of Oscar-nommed Susanne Bier.
A 7th Art Releasing (in U.S.) release of a Story Film, Pause Film, Tanja Meding production with support from the SFI, DFI, Nordisk Film and TV Fund, Filmregion Stockholm-Malardalen, SIDA, EU Media Plus, SVT, YLE. (International sales: Story Film, Stockholm.) Produced by Tobias Janson, Jenny Ornborn. Executive producers, Goran Olsson, David Aronowitsch. Co-producers, Louise Koster, Anna-Maria Kantarius, Tanja Meding. Directed by Gabriella Bier.
Camera (color, DV), Albin Biblom; editors; Dominika Daubenbuchel, Thomas Lagerman; music, El Perro del Mar. Reviewed at Gothenburg Film Festival (Swedish Premieres), Feb. 5, 2011. Running time: 93 MIN.
Jasmin Avissar, Osama Zatar. (Hebrew, Arabic, English, German dialogue.)