You will be redirected back to your article in seconds


The plight of a Bedouin family living in an "unrecognized" village in contemporary Israel receives understated but eloquent treatment in "Sharqiya" from debuting Israeli director Ami Livne.

With: Adnan Abu Wadi, Maysa Abed Alhadi, Adnan Abu Muhareb, Eli Menashe. (Hebrew, Arabic dialogue)

The plight of a Bedouin family living in an “unrecognized” village in contemporary Israel receives understated but eloquent treatment in “Sharqiya” from debuting Israeli director Ami Livne. Filmed on location in the Negev desert with fine, naturalistic performances from non-professional actors, the tale pivots on a modest man who yearns to be fully accepted by the country he lives in. Poignant, low-key drama reps quality fare for offshore fests, broadcasters and human rights events.

A veteran of the Israeli military, Kamel (Adnan Abu Wadi) works as a security guard at the Be’er Sheba central bus station. As he commutes each day from the primitive plyboard-and-tin shack built on the isolated land owned by his family since the Ottoman Empire (an ownership claim that the Israeli government does not recognize because there are no extant documents), the contrasts between his home and the urban center in which he works make it feel as if he is traveling forward and backward in time. His dusty “village” consists of three shacks and a tent alongside a small herd of goats and a donkey.

Because the state of Israel does not permit electricity and water access to unrecognized Bedouin villages, Kamel, his older brother Khaled (Adnan Abu Muhareb) and Khaled’s young wife, Nadia (Maysa Abed Alhadi), must rely on a noisy gas generator and open fires. They purchase and collect their own water in a tanker hauled by a tractor.

When Israeli authorities deliver a demolition order, it increases the tensions already wracking this small extended family. Construction worker Khaled, who did not serve in the military, resents Kamel for his willingness to work for the Israeli establishment and for encouraging Nadia’s ambitions to study; he continually cold-shoulders his brother. Meanwhile, lonely Kamel feels as if he doesn’t receive the same opportunities at work as his colleagues because he is a Bedouin.

The brothers try to appeal the demolition order, but even the Bedouin Authority office advises them to accept compensation and leave their land. As the eviction day approaches, Kamel comes up with a plan.

With Guy Ofran’s screenplay keeping dialogue to a minimum, helmer Livne takes an unshowy, almost documentary approach, allowing sensitive, observant camerawork to articulate the story. A heartrending scene in which Kamel packs his meager possessions, prizing a photo of his army unit, epitomizes this approach.

The slightly soft-edged, grainy image quality furthers a docu feel, as does the realistic production design. Minimal, atonal music wryly underscores moments of greatest intensity.

Pic’s title translates as “East Wind,” referring to the literal and metaphorical winds buffeting the Bedouins.



Production: A Golden Cinema, EZ Films, Laila Films, Detail Film production with the support of Israel Film Fund, Filmforderung Hamburg Schleswig-Holstein, Foundation Groupa Gam Pour le Cinema, Other Israel Fund. Produced by Eyal Shiray, Elie Meirovitz, Itai Tamir. Co-producers, Fabian Gasmia, Henning Kamm. Directed by Ami Livne. Screenplay, Guy Ofran.

Crew: Camera (color, DV), Boaz Yehonathan Ya'acov; editor, Zohar Sela; music, Assif Tsahar; production designer, Salim Shehade; costume designer, Shams Shaloufi; sound, Israel David, Alex Claude, Alfred Tesler, Shelly Bar-On. Reviewed at Berlin Film Festival (Panorama), Feb. 11, 2012. Running time: 85 MIN.

Cast: With: Adnan Abu Wadi, Maysa Abed Alhadi, Adnan Abu Muhareb, Eli Menashe. (Hebrew, Arabic dialogue)

More Scene

  • 'Schitt's Creek' Stars Reveal Dream Guest

    'Schitt's Creek' Cast Reveals Dream Guest Stars: Oprah, Beyonce and ...

    “Schitt’s Creek” has big dreams. Dan Levy, who stars as David on the series, says his wish list of guest stars includes Oprah, Beyonce, Mariah Carey and Gwyneth Paltrow. “All for different reasons, none of whom we’ll get,” he cracked at the Critics’ Choice Awards. For those who haven’t caught on to the “Schitt’s Creek” [...]

  • Barbra Streisand and Gisele Bundchen

    Barbra Streisand and Gisele Bündchen to Be Honored at UCLA Science Gala

    Science can be very glamorous. It certainly will be during Oscar week on Feb. 21 when the UCLA Institute of the Environment & Sustainability (IoES) honors Barbra Streisand and Gisele Bündchen for environmental activism at its annual Hollywood for Science Gala. “When I moved to LA, the air was unbreathable. Rivers were catching fire in [...]

  • Don Cheadle and Andrew Rannells Black

    Don Cheadle, Andrew Rannells Talk Snorting 'Coke' on 'Black Monday'

    “Black Monday” show creators David Caspe and Jordan Cahen divulged an intriguing detail to come later in the first season of the new Showtime comedy at its world premiere, held at the Theatre at Ace Hotel on Monday night in Los Angeles. “The fourth or fifth episode opens with a sexual harassment seminar, which very well [...]

  • Alfonso Cuaron attends the 44th Annual

    Alfonso Cuarón to LAFCA: 'Thanks to Your Help We Can Break Down Walls'

    Inclusion was the big winner at the L.A. Film Critics Association Awards, which was held Saturday night at the InterContinental in Century City. “This year’s winners are the most diverse in LAFCA’s 43-year history,” announced its president, Claudia Puig, adding that 14 out of their 18 awards were won by women and people of color. [...]

  • Mandatory Credit: Photo by Max Malandrino/REX/Shutterstock

    Hollywood Power Players Assemble to Save Iconic Deli Nate 'n Al

    A group of Hollywood executives and celebrities have banded together with the intent to save Beverly Hills deli and star haunt Nate ‘n Al, a stone’s throw from tourist destination Rodeo Drive. A consortium of investors including music kingpin Irving Azoff and wife Shelli, Universal Filmed Entertainment Group chairman Jeff Shell, and Rande Gerber and [...]

  • Charlie Collier, FOX Chief Executive Officer

    'The Passage' Team Talks Diversifying Races, Genders and Ages of Book Characters

    “The Passage” star Saniyya Sidney was unaware that the book version of her character was originally white until her father, a fan of Justin Cronin’s apocalyptic trilogy, informed her during the audition process. “I was like, ‘Oh, she is?'” Sidney told Variety at Thursday’s series premiere in Santa Monica, Calif. “And when I got it, [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content