A young Palestinian freedom fighter agrees to work as an informant after he’s tricked into an admission of guilt by association in the wake of an Israeli soldier’s killing.
Omar is a powerful film about tensions between Israel and Palestine that succeeds in showing the impact the conflict has on individual’s lives. Nominated for ‘Best Foreign Language Film’ at this years Oscars, amongst a whole host of other nominations, it comes with a great level of critical acclaim and it’s one of the better films I’ve seen this year. The film begins by introducing us to Omar (Adam Bakri), a young Palestinian freedom fighter who spends his days with his childhood friends and with the girl he loves, and his nights carrying out attacks on Israeli security forces. His world changes when he’s caught by the authorities and tricked into a confession after the shooting of an Israeli soldier.
Bakri is in every scene from what I recall, and he makes for a powerful and compelling lead. He skilfully conveys his inner thoughts at different stages of the film, from the unbridled joy when he’s with Nadia, to the pain and anguish when he has to make decisions for the greater good. For a highly political film, the Palestinian director Hany Abu-Assad (who also directed ‘Paradise Now’) keeps the focus on the individuals and not on the wider political goals, although every key decision the characters have to make agonisingly puts their political beliefs and personal needs at odds. It’s an excellent study that shows the tension on both sides extremely well, and ultimately, that there are no winners in this situation. I found the film to be a fascinating study of the culture and politics of the region, with a clear focus on how the conflict affects the people at the heart of it.
Out on general release on the 30th May – I highly recommended seeing it if your local independent has it on
Directed By: Hany Abu-Assad
Starring: Adam Bakri, Leem Lubany, Samer Bisharat, Iyad Hoorani and Waleed Zuiater