This lighthearted look on Palestine-Israel conflict is Ranjan's recommendation for the week
An Arab production assistant working on a Palestinian soap in Israel is suddenly entrusted with the writing of the show when its regular writer resigns on issues of creative differences; but the only problem is that he has never written before. As chance would have it, an Israeli officer at the checkpoint through which he passes every day shows a keen interest in the show (the soap is popular with both the Arabs and the Jews) and begins to act as the ghost-writer – but he has his own artistic demands which could compromise its political subtext…
TEL AVIV ON FIRE (2018) by Palestinian director Sameh Zoabi is a delightful comedy that looks at the Israel-Palestine conflict in a light-hearted manner without sacrificing its core political ideology. The great thing is that though it is officially a Luxembourg production that was entered into Academy Awards (it was not nominated), the Israeli Film Fund is also one of its producers along with other European organisations, and the film was shown in Haifa International Film Festival in Israel where it won the Best Film and Best Screenplay Awards. It also won a couple of awards at the Israeli Academy Awards and fetched Kais Nashef, who plays the awkward protagonist the Best Actor Award in the Venice Film Festival in 2018.
Streaming on MUBI.
Ranjan Das is a Mumbai based filmmaker and faculty.