Sunday, October 02, 2005

film - The Olive Harvest

The Olive Harvest (2003)
3 /5

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In a sparse Palestinian village, the olive orchard is like a symbol of life for the community. One day, Mazen is released from jail and is brought home by his younger brother, Tazer. Mazen's action, disrupting the construction of Israeli settlements, has saved the community from having it's orchard bulldozed. He is greeted like a hero upon his return. While visiting one of the neighbors, he is introduced to Raeda, one his daughters. She's beautiful and has been the apple of Taher's eye for a while now. Taher, a government employee tasked with watching out for new Israeli settlements, has been preoccupied with work and hasn't fullfilled his promise to make his engagement to her formal by asking for her hand in marriage.

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Mazen Saade as Mazen

Taher has the idea of hooking up Mazen with Raeda's sister who works in the city. Mazen isn't interested in getting hitched since he is freshly released from jail and not working.

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Taher Najeeb as Taher

While at work, Raeda and Mazen end up spending some time together. She has a fight with Taher as she confronts him for not being able to commit since he had not yet asked for her hand in marriage. She gravitates toward Mazen and two form an obvious bond. One day, Taher catches the two of them together and a fight ensues...

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Raeda Adon as Raeda

Raeda doesn't want to break ties between the brothers and she doesn't know who she will marry. Much crying ensues.

Taher is also quite a hothead. He seems to lose his temper a lot and has to be told not to investigate a new settlement since it is really just meant to egg on the Palestinians into inciting more violence, which will result in more military responses from the IDF. Mazen, on the other hand, is wiser and doesn't see violence as providing a viable solution.

To make matters worse, Raeda's father is dying and he demands that Raeda marry Mazen, since Mazen has pledged to stay and look after the olive orchards. He also feels that Taher's work in monitoring new, encroaching settlements, is too important to give up for the olive business.

The problem with this film is the ending in which we don't know how the characters resolve their issues. The acting is fine all the way through. There are a few comments on the settlements but the Israeli government is not the focus of the film at all. One of the complaints was about how one settle was built but no one has occupied any of the housing in the last five years.

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Director Hanna Elias

This was a filmed with an Israeli crew, directed by an Israeli and starring a Palestinian cast. Produced by Kamran Elahian, an Iranian-American.

The Olive Harvest played as part of the 2nd Annual Canada-Palestine Film Festival, in Winnipeg, Canada.

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