Gaza Mon Amour (2020)

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A bitter-sweet romance that, by stealth, will show you the precariousness of living in Palestine.

Twins Arab and Tarzan Nasser have crafted a gentle fable, dedicated to their father. Issa (Salim Dau) is a grizzled bachelor, happy with his life as a fisherman in Gaza but with a secret love for widow Siham (Hiam Abbas). Siham is a dressmaker, frustrated with her daughter Leila (Maisa Abd Elhadi) who is divorced – a definite shame as far as society is concerned – but coasting through life and begrudging in her help with Shiham’s work.

The plot is not really important – there’s a match-making sister, a recovered statue and run-ins with the authorities – as essentially we are seeing the textures and idiosyncrasies of a man as he attempts to craft his life. All around are the predicaments of living in Palestine – border controls, rockets and restrictions. We see those who are happy to stay, who feel this is their home, and the younger ones desperate to leave.

The bleached palette indicates a life without warmth and colour but Issa finds delight in small things. At heart, he is a man with hope and it is this that wins us and, potentially, Shilam over (no spoilers).

Have you seen this film? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below.

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