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When Pigs Have Wings

Neither kosher nor halal, the unusual catch of a Palestinian fisherman is the source of quite a few chuckles in the Euro-financed, Gaza-set "When Pigs Have Wings."

Cast:
With: Sasson Gabay, Baya Belal, Myriam Tekaya, Gassan Abbas, Khalifa Natour, Lofti Abdelli, Ulrich Tukur, Khaled Riani, Uri Gabai, Ido Shaked, Thierry Lopez. (Arabic, Hebrew, English, French dialogue)

Neither kosher nor halal, the unusual catch of a Palestinian fisherman is the source of quite a few chuckles in the Euro-financed, Gaza-set “When Pigs Have Wings.” French novelist-turned-director Sylvain Estibal’s first feature lacks, somewhat ironically, a clear dramatic structure, though a humanistic perf from thesp Sasson Gabay (“The Band’s Visit”) and a combo of gentle situational comedy and light sociopolitical critique partially compensate for the story’s tendency to ramble. Limited fall release did respectable numbers in Gaul, and the marketing-ready premise could generate niche biz elsewhere.

Penniless piscator Jafaar (Gabbay) finds a pig in his nets, and his chronic poverty dictates that he find a buyer for the unclean beast, though that’s easier said than done. Jafaar tries a variety of options, which include taking it to the U.N., selling its sperm and, somewhat bizarrely, performing an unexpected stint as a suicide bomber. All are played for gentle laffs, though Jafaar’s rapport with his wife (Baya Belal) and the Israeli soldiers (Ido Shaked, Thierry Lopez) on their roof inject a welcome sobering note. Below-the-line credits, including a simple but effective score, are on the money.

When Pigs Have Wings

France-Germany-Belgium

Production: A Studiocanal release of a Marilyn Prods. presentation of a Marilyn Prods., Studiocanal, Barry Films, Saga Film, Rhamsa Prods. production, in association with Canal Plus, Orange Cinema Series. (International sales: Studiocanal, Paris.) Produced by Franck Chorot. Directed, written by Sylvain Estibal.

Crew: Camera (color), Romain Winding; editor, Damien Keyeux; music, Aqualactica, Boogie Balaban; production designer, Albrecht Konrad; costume designer, Marie-Josephine Gracia. Reviewed at Brady Theater, Paris, Nov. 18, 2011. (In Tokyo Film Festival -- competing.) Running time: 98 MIN.

With: With: Sasson Gabay, Baya Belal, Myriam Tekaya, Gassan Abbas, Khalifa Natour, Lofti Abdelli, Ulrich Tukur, Khaled Riani, Uri Gabai, Ido Shaked, Thierry Lopez. (Arabic, Hebrew, English, French dialogue)

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