Sand Storm

"Sufat chol" (English captions) was submitted by Israel for the 2016 Seattle International Film Festival. Written and directed by Elite Zexer, an up and coming Israeli woman, this involving story places us in a Bedouin village. A wedding celebration is under way; we quickly see that the first wife is saddled with the responsibility for the festivities. Her daughters are watching her every move.

Winner of the 2016 World Cinema Grand Jury Prize at Sundance, we watch education, tradition, religion and young love all butt heads.
The cast:
  • Lamis Ammar - Layla is going to school but is distracted by a boy from another tribe. Her grades have suffered and her father is NOT happy. He's busy preparing for his wedding to a second wife. Layla is rebellious. This actress has a wonderful face!
  • Ruba Blal - Jalila represents the first generation of wives to question the polygamist tradition. She works hard so she won't embarrass her husband, but you can see her conflicts. This terrific actress conveys strength, patience and determination.
  • Hitham Omari - Suliman sees himself as a good husband, a good father and a good man. He is convinced he has no choice in his decisions about his wedding, his wives or his daughters. This handsome actor conveys maturity and understanding.
  • Khadija Al Akel - Tasnin is Layla's younger sister. Her generation will decide the future for the Bedouins. Young Khadija is our eyes and ears. She shows us the right balance between curious and potentially rebellious.
  • Jalal Masrwa - Handsome Anwar understands Suliman's decisions and tells Layla that he would make exactly the same ones. But he wants his future to be with her...
This screenplay came from a friendship the writer/director's mother enjoyed when she was shooting a series about Bedouins. Zexer was inspired by what her mother saw. This is impressive filmmaking with no actual villains. We even come to pity the second wife! And this offers remarkable insight into the daily labors of the woman in Bedouin villages.