A below-par effort by one of Israel’s established directors whose somewhat controversial film about a family trapped by a military lockdown of an Arab town in Israel has a great premise but suffers from an uninteresting execution.
Dir. Eran Kolirin
2021 | Israel | Drama | 101 mins | 2.35:1 | Arabic & Hebrew
Not rated – likely to be NC16 for some mature themes
Cast: Alex Bakri, Juna Suleiman, Salim Daw
Plot: A gently satirical tale of a man and his family trapped by a military blockade inside a tiny Arab village in Israel.
Awards: Nom. for Un Certain Regard Award (Cannes)
International Sales: The Match Factory
Subject Matter: Moderate – Sociopolitical Tensions
Narrative Style: Straightforward
Pace: Slightly Slow
Audience Type: General Arthouse
After being suitably impressed by The Band’s Visit (2007), Eran Kolirin’s debut feature, I thought of checking out his latest, Let It Be Morning, which hasn’t been talked about much since premiering at the Cannes Film Festival last year.
I guess that is as good an indicator as any as to why the film had fallen by the wayside. Let It Be Morning is a disappointment, to say the least, which is surprising considering its contentious premise.
After visiting his home village to attend his younger brother’s wedding, Sami and his family become trapped in that part of town after a military lockdown at the border. It’s an Arab town in Israel, a car ride from Jerusalem, where Sami lives and works.
“Do you know that you blink? That’s why you only see a small part of reality.”
There is no indication as to what might have caused the lockdown—the educated guess is that it is politics rearing its ugly head than, say, Covid-19, though the allegory for the unintended consequences of the pandemic may be gleaned, however slight or perhaps irrelevant it might be.
This great premise unfortunately suffers from an uninteresting execution. For much of the film, we follow Sami as we try to decipher his thoughts and feelings, but there is no real tension, nor are there any pronounced dramatic stakes at hand.
Sami and the supporting characters aren’t compelling enough, with much of the film becoming an excuse for exploring discriminatory racial politics with little discernible aim. It’s a wasted opportunity and I didn’t feel like I got anything meaningful out of it.