Searching for an invention that will answer the real

A film by the director and actor from Nazareth, Shady Srour, was screened a few months ago in Israeli cinemas after participating in many international festivals. The film describes, in a humorous and delicate manner, the complexity of the life of a young Palestinian Arab couple from the city of Nazareth, what they encounter inside the city, full of violence and existential fights, and within Israeli society in general, which is saturated with trends of segregation and polarization on a national basis among the Arab and the Jewish population.

The couple, Adam and Lamia, face the fears and dilemmas that pregnancy awaken in relation to their first baby. Adam, a junior businessman, has not yet established his professional future, worried and afraid that he will not be able to finance the life of the infant to be. Lamia, a social worker with a social consciousness and feminist, suffers during pregnancy from anxiety attacks that arise around her fear of the cruelty of the environment and the world into which the baby will be born in. This drama takes place in parallel to the coping of Adam’s father with cancer and his approaching death. Aware of his condition, in the hospital the father leaves in Adam’s hands the keys of the tourist shop of holy water, from which he made a living and supported his family. This workshop represents “all the property he can provide to his son.”

Adam, a graduate of the business administration program, gets the brilliant idea of selling “holy air” to tourists in the same bottle of the “father”. He offers the air he gets for free from the holy site of Mount Precipice in Nazareth. The idea of bringing the product onto the market has encountered difficulties because of the dominationof the clerics and the black-market people in the field of tourism in the city and their war against him and his product.

The film is set at the time of the pope’s visit to the city, a visit that is supposed to bring an increased number of pilgrims to the city. Adam persists and endeavors to promote his product, which seems to be a promising and financially profitable tourist attraction.He gathers all his talent and manages to make a deal through his various connections, both with the heads of the Church, the leaders of the black market, and the minister in charge of the Israeli Ministry of Tourism. He manages to make the project profitable for these three factors that control the economy of the market, and solicits their partnership and support in the entry of the product into the market and travel packages of the pilgrims to Israel.

At the party to celebrate the launch of the product on the market, and during his speech presenting his product as a spiritual concept, based on values such as “unity, brotherhood” and many signifiers of beautiful ideals, there is a deafening sound of siren and a noise of a fighter jet experienced as real, shaking the earth and the attendees struggling for their lives. The bottles crash and the project collapses. In the scene following the film, Adam’s father breathes his last in the hospital. Adam decides to close the workshop, offers it for sale and leaves it, to look after a new way.

Beyond the various aspects that this film approaches, this is a film about the ineffectiveness of the name of the father and its failure to meet the challenge of encountering and dealing with the real of life in the local space. It can be said that it points to the need to turn to a new channel in order to respond to this real, a way of invention that deviates from the name of the father. The same name of the father that can even be claimed as nourishing the return of the real in the present circumstances.

Bravo Shady Srour, Bravo to the wonderful team of actors and professionals who produced this piece of art.