Directed by Maha Haj
In Nazareth, an old couple lives wearily to the rhythm of the daily routine. On the other side of the border, in Ramallah, their son Tarek wishes to remain an eternal bachelor, their daughter is about to give birth while her husband lands a movie role and the grandmother loses her head... Between check-points and dreams, frivolity and politics, some want to leave, others want to stay but all have personal affairs to resolve.
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★★★★ review by Mike D'Angelo on Letterboxd
Pupil-overtakes-the-master time, as I like this even more than my favorite Elia Suleiman film (The Time That Remains). He gets a big, isolated thank you in the closing credits, confirming my late-breaking speculation about his influence; turns out Haj actually worked on Time That Remains, as a set decorator. Key word is "late-breaking," though. While Haj borrows Suleiman's droll absurdism and structural gamesmanship, her sensibility is warmer, less caustic; all of the vignettes—even the saddest one—conclude on lovely, unapologetically sentimental notes. And because the characters are related, it's not even clear for a long time that they inhabit what are essentially separate vignettes (as opposed to, say, a sprawling Altmanesque tapestry). The film gradually expands and then just as gradually contracts, with the first narrative threads introduced being the last resolved, and vice versa. Some clunky moments—the woman playing the American movie producer or whatever is terrible—but Haj's optimism in the face of despondency penetrated my armor multiple times. It's amazing how differently a potentially crowdpleasing setpiece plays when it's mediated by the reflection of the two Israeli security officers impassively observing it.
★★★★ review by Elena Lazic on Letterboxd
"This is the second film at Cannes this year, along with the Romanian Sieranevada, to tackle the way we sometimes take our loved ones for granted. While Sieranevada looked at this from a peculiarly Eastern Orthodox tradition, the Palestinian Personal Affairs, presented in the Un Certain Regard section, takes a more universal approach. By focussing on each character’s love life, Personal Affairs offers a gendered and decidedly feminist consideration of the way people can sometimes forget or refuse to treat their loved ones with the respect they deserve."
My full review for The Seventh Row.
★★★½ review by juliettecal on Letterboxd
The poster introduced it as a comedy, yet it isn't made for the viewer to laugh. It was very subtile, with a lot of "Paterson" vibes (little obsessions, routine, same sort of relationships). Extremely pleasant to watch. Some of the scenes are quite memorable. And the whole cast is great, except the only two American actresses.
★★★½ review by Lucio on Letterboxd
Due anziani genitori a Nazareth, tre figli tra Ramallah e Stoccolma. Depressione, vita quotidiana, molti sorrisi.
★★★★ review by camilla toschi on Letterboxd
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