Syrian Bride (2004)




Director:  Eran Riklis. 

Starring:  Hiam Abbass (Amal), Makram Khoury (Hammed), Clara Khoury (Mona), Ashraf Barhom (Marwan), Eyad Sheety (Hattem), Evelyn Kaplun (Evelyna), Julie-Anne Roth (Jeanne), Adnan Tarabshi (Amin), Marlene Bajali (The Mother), Uri Gavriel (Simon), Alon Dahan (Arik), Robert Henig (Joseph), Derar Sliman (Tallel), Ranin Boulos (Mai), Hanna Abou-Manneh (Rama).

a bride finds herself stranded in the middle of the border between the Israeli and Syrian borders



Good movie.  In the 1967 War, Israel occupied the Golan Heights and then kept them.  The Village of Mijdal Shams, on the Israeli-Syrian border, is the largest Druze village in the Golan Heights.  The loyalty of the original Syrian inhabitants is split between Syria and Israel and their nationality is "undefined."

A resident of the Golan Heights, Mona Salman is getting married to a Syrian television star, Tallel, who she has never actually met.  Even though this is supposed to be her day, she is so sad that it borders on depression.  She is sad because once she crosses the border to be married in Syria to Tallel, she will be considered a Syrian citizen and will not be allowed to return to the Golan Heights.  Therefore, she will never see many of her relatives living on the Golan Heights. 

Mon is going to be leaving behind a large family.  She leaves behind her mother and her father, Hammed Salman, who has just been paroled from prison.  He was jailed by the Israelis for his political activism.  The Israeli police know about the wedding and want to make sure that Hammed does not enter the border area to say good-bye to his daughter. 

Mona will leave behind an older sister, Amal, who is married to a man she virtually detests, Amin, with whom she has two young girls. 

Mona also has three brothers she will leave:  

1)  Marwan, who is a real lady's man and hustler;

2) Hattem, who is estranged from his father and an outcast for marrying a Russian girl; he returns, with his wife and son, to attend the wedding after an absence of 8 years; and

3)  Fahide, who attends university and can only communicate personally with his family by standing near the border and, using a bull horn, shouting to his family who use a bull horn to respond. 

The family, including the bride's father, go to the border with the bride to see her cross from Israeli-occupied territory, pass the UN station in-between and go through the Syrian gate into Syria.

But things are not so simple.  Mona finds herself caught between the two border crossings.  The Israelis institute a new policy and stamp her passport as Israeli and the Syrians find this unacceptable for they refuse to recognize the Golan Heights as anything but a part of Syria.  And so a Red Cross representative has to run between the two border crossings trying to get this stalemate resolved, each side insisting that nothing can be done. 

I really enjoyed the movie.  There were interesting landscapes with the village set on the side of a large hill in desert habitat.  It was also interesting viewing Palestinian-Israelis actors, who play all the Syrian parts.  And it makes one feel sympathetic to those Syrians in the Golan Heights, occupied by Israel and caught between the two nations of Israel and Syria. 

Patrick Louis Cooney, Ph. D. 


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