The Reports on Sarah and Saleem, Muayad Alayan (2018)
In a new showcase of Arab cinema screening at BAM, the beauty, complexity, and diversity of Arab culture shines through in vital new works from some of the Middle East and North Africa's boldest and most innovative filmmakers.
Palestinian filmmaker Muayad Alayan's award-winning second feature The Reports on Sarah and Saleem, which premiered at Rotterdam, dissects contemporary Israel's surveillance state via the story of two young lovers who begin a casual affair. Celebrated Algerian auteur Merzak Allouache deconstructs the growing role of the "theology of death"— the promise of martyrdom to disaffected youths in his nation by radicalized clerics— in the stunning Investigating Paradise, which premiered at Berlin.
Grappling unflinchingly with issues of women's rights, ethnic identity, sociopolitical upheaval, history, and tradition, the eclectic array of documentaries and narratives being screened are by turns personal, political, funny, and fervent dispatches from an ever-evolving region.