Pomegranates and Myrrh
(Palestine, 2008, 95 min)
By : Najwa Najjar
Screens: Saturday, March 13th, 8pm
Director will be present for a post-screening discussion with audience.
Dancer Kamar’s joyful wedding to Zaid is followed almost immediately by Zaid’s imprisonment in an Israeli jail for refusing to give up his land. Free-spirited Kamar wants to support her husband and be a dutiful wife but struggles with the idea of giving up dance and her own dreams. Matters are complicated when a new dance instructor, Kais, returns to the studio after many years in Lebanon and takes a special interest in Kamar. She struggles to deal with the weight of Kais’s attention, which brings to the surface her attempts to balance her own desires with her duties as the wife of a prisoner.Like the character of Kamar herself, Najwa Najjar’s filmmaking (in her debut feature) is matter-of-fact about Kamar’s situation. Instead of manufacturing melodrama, Najjar stays focused on her protagonist’s insistence on seeing her life, like anyone else’s, as an opportunity for joy. The constant interference of the external conflict—her husband’s arrest, the squatters on her land, and the soldiers filling the streets—is an unavoidable aspect of Kamar’s existence but one that she will not allow to deter her. Najjar’s intimate storytelling and Yasmine Al Massri’s sensitive portrayal of Kamar create a film that addresses honestly the way a woman might face the realities of life in modern-day Palestine while refusing to be defined by them.
Writer/director Najwa Najjar has worked in both documentary and fiction genres, and her first feature film, Pomegranates and Myrrh, won the Amiens Scriptwriting Award and was included in Sundance's Middle East Screenwriters Lab and the Mediterranean Films Crossing Borders workshop in Cannes. Her short films include the drama, Yasmine's Song, and the documentary, Naim and Wadee'a.