Unless Hiam Abbass plans on directing Turkish soaps, it’s best she stick to acting. “Inheritance,” her helming debut, is a choral work that stridently plays so many instruments, its story of tradition vs. modernity among a Palestinian family in Israel during wartime is rendered ridiculous under the meller chords. Surprisingly, the fine thesp has difficulty getting good perfs from her cast of top Palestinian players, and only the sound recording, an integral part of the pic’s conception, overcomes script weaknesses. Abbass’ name will guarantee some play, especially in France and Turkey.
In an Israeli-Arab village near Lebanon, paterfamilias Abu Majd (Makram Khoury) sees his five grown kids roiling in unhappiness. Youngest Hajar (Hafsia Herzi) scandalizes the family by loving Englishman Matthew (Tom Payne, wooden). Debt-laden Majd (Khalifa Natour) and Samira (Abbass) tensely host their daughter’s wedding until falling bombs interrupt the festivities; despite the near constant sounds of war, the impact largely remains aural. Infertility, collaboration and infidelity rear their heads in what’s meant as a microcosm of Palestinian society in Israel, but all these suds just don’t wash. A final helicopter shot fits the overall lack of subtlety.