Palestinians Maha Al-Hajj, Ashraf Farah and Consul Amar Hellhel (Patricia de Mello Morera / AFP)
After a notable first novelist, Personal Matters (2016), it first appeared internationally in the 69th edition (11-22 May 2016) on the Uncertainty Record project.Cannes International Film FestivalPalestinian director Maha al-Hajj (1970) returned to the same show with his second film at the 75th session of the Cannes Film Festival (17-28 May 2022).Mediterranean fever“.
Craftsmanship and honesty in the script (Maha Al-Haj) (“Best Screenplay Award in A Look 2022), clear, concise and carefully drawn characters, plot threads that observe minute details and brilliant general idea without any Palestinian political concern, direct discussion, human-psychology Not from deep philosophical dimensions, Maha al-Hajj first crafted his ideas and succeeded in entering into the world of men and proposing the nature of friendship between them.In a general framework of exploring the meaning of life, existence and adaptation, the elements of the masculine world include weakness, weakness and In addition to all these, to combine his strong presence as a director, honest and versatile project owner, owner of an interesting vision and unique artistic orientation, in various technical aspects, without any sluggishness or weakness.
In “Mediterranean Fever”, al-Hajj ends up developing into a black comedy film with surprises and intrigues, dynamic attitudes, dynamic psychology and character reactions, interesting threads that are difficult to predict or in any direction. There is noticeable work in the dialogue, which is very relevant to each character, and lacks brilliance and humor, despite the darkness of the subject, which contributes to the creation of life and flow, which is enhanced by good choice. Cast and their good management.
The events of “Mediterranean Fever” take place in Haifa, Walit (Amer Hellhell) is a middle-aged novelist who has not yet written his first novel, but he tries for many reasons despite his apparent stumble, most of which are not. Clear. Walid feels that he is carrying the burden of the world on his shoulders and that he is in a large prison (Palestinian prison). For two years, he has been suffering from severe depression, which appears to be chronic. He does not regularly attend treatment sessions and refuses to take medication prescribed by his psychiatrist because of a strong sense of ineffectiveness.
Nevertheless, he was an exemplary father in his home. He takes care of the cleanliness of the house, takes care of the cooking and takes the two children to school. Due to his hard work as a nurse in a large hospital, things that his wife is busy with. In short, he is a good and quiet man, he loves his wife and their two children, and has a good relationship with his parents, and there is nothing strange, extremist or violent in his life behavior, except that he constantly cares. Tragic and depressing Palestinian news, and should encourage her two children to speak Arabic, not Hebrew.
Jalal (Ashraf Farah), the new neighbor next to him, recently moved in opposite his apartment. Not interested in the Palestinian reality. He loves fun and embraces indifference. Despite Walid’s reluctance and reservation, a close friendship gradually develops between them, although while the difference in their world is obvious, Jalal, a construction worker, belongs to the world of semi – organized crime, meaning he is a source of danger. Something attracts him as soon as Walid finds it, but chases him away. His excuse lies in his desire to write a novel about the world of crime and criminals, in which he has the glory of a particular advantage.
As the friendship between them grows, Jalal’s weak human nature becomes more and more apparent. From his criminal behavior and his hidden world, from his twin lives, his devotion to his new friend Walid, and he and his life and his predicament are revealed. Gradually, Jalal realized that Walit’s story was constantly changing and that writing the novel was an excuse for something bigger and deeper that Walid was seriously looking for. Attempts failed. However, after Jalal was subjected to severe financial pressures, it was soon necessary to organize a large sum of money, and he was confronted after discovering that Walid was an expert in hunting wild boar and that he excelled in hunting guns. With his request, and insists on implementing it, as a help from friend to friend, he no longer wants life.
The title of the film, “Mediterranean Fever”, refers to an illness that Jalal’s youngest son has. When asked what the flu was, he replied that it was hereditary, only in the region where they lived, i.e. in the Middle East. The film does not care about the son’s physical illness. Mediterranean fever is another indication of the political, social and psychological burden on Palestinians living in Haifa in general and in the Middle East in general.
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