“HANY ABU-ASSAD | PALESTINE, EGYPT, NETHERLANDS, QATAR | ARABIC | 2021 | 91 MIN
A simple visit to the hair salon unexpectedly embroils two women in a perilous struggle for survival in this gripping thriller from Palestinian auteur Hany Abu-Assad.
One of the leading voices of modern Palestinian cinema, Hany Abu-Assad (Paradise Now, Omar) has long established his ability to channel the ongoing plight of his people into riveting, thought-provoking cinema. After firmly establishing his setting in the embattled West Bank city of Bethlehem, Abu-Assad brings the viewer into the titular salon. There, business owner Huda (Manal Awad) and harried young mother Reem (Maisa Abd Elhadi) gab about everything from a local business owner they both detest to Reem’s strained marriage. But what seems at first like an engaging yet commonplace encounter suddenly shifts gears into something much more shocking, and Reem finds herself unexpectedly involved in a dangerous, far-reaching scheme. Fearful for her life yet unable to reveal her situation to her jealous husband Yousef (Jalal Masarwa), Reem must do whatever it takes to ensure her survival. Meanwhile, Huda battles for her own life, matching wits against a wily interrogator (Ali Suliman). Abu-Assad nimbly cuts between the stories of these two women, who are seemingly opposed yet linked by their shared experiences as women in a patriarchal society and as citizens of an occupied territory.
Cast: Maisa Abd Elhadi, Manal Awad, Ali Suliman, Samer Bisharat
Part of the Masters of Cinema Category