Sand Storm

A Bedouin village in Northern Israel. When Jalila's husband marries a second woman, Jalila and her daughter's world is shattered, and the women are torn between their commitment to the patriarchal rules and being true to themselves.


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  • ★★★★½ review by DirkH on Letterboxd

    I love films that manage to have a small focus but a huge scope. This seemingly simple film relates a story that has a resounding impact as it gives insight into a culture that will undoubtedly be unknown to many.

    It deals with a Bedouin community in Israel and specifically with a wife and her daughter. We are thrust into their lives and get to know them through their daily routine, an incredibly effective story telling mechanism in a film like this. There is seemingly no plot, but there is a catalyst that sets director Zexer's narrative in motion, revealing its true intentions. The head of the patriarchal group decides to get a second wife, thus 'demoting' the status of our protagonists.

    The way Zexer handles this is without cheap manipulation. This film has such a natural feel to it that the struggles and tiny acts of rebellion mother and daughter get up to become tangible and feel real. And this struggle of finding a place in a male dominated society is so easily transported to the state the world is in currently. Watch this film and see a template of a community that fits a bit too easily on the brunt of global societies.

    I don't think it is Zexer's intention to condemn or judge. She handles the central theme of choice or lack there of with subtlety and with and impressive objectivity. She doesn't empower women for empowerment's sake, but instead she focuses on bringing out real strength in a real situation with real issues. And that is the reason why the way things eventually unfold become almost excruciatingly bitter.

    This is a hugely underseen film, something that needs to be remedied in my opinion.

  • ★★★★★ review by Chris Hormann on Letterboxd

    One of the drawbacks of seeing so many films at a Film Festival is there's a risk of exhaustion and of films blending into a homogeneous mess. But on the other side of the coin, you can also go into a film knowing nothing about it and be utterly surprised and delighted.

    So it was today with Sand Storm, a wonderful film which deals with its complex issues in an intelligent and enlightening manner. It contains unheralded actors giving touching and devastatingly good performances and all brought together with magical directorial flair by Elite Zexer. An outstanding film, which opens up a world so little seen by Western eyes.

  • ★★★★½ review by Gunnar Larson on Letterboxd

    Sundance '16 #11

    We went to the box office friday morning early to get tickets to Christine, Holy Hell, and Captain Fantastic. Unfortunately, all those were sold out and we hedged our bets getting tickets for the yet-to-be-determined World Cinema Jury Dramatic winner, and two TBA tickets. The TBA's ended up being Spa Night (didn't want to see again) and a doc we weren't interested in.

    ANYWAY. Sand Storm won the Foreign Film award at Sundance. After originally being upset that The Lure and Wild were overlooked (not surprising), I ended up loving Sand Storm more than the other two.

    It deftly follows the lives of three women in one family (mother, eldest daughter (20), younger daughter (10)) and their agency in their lives, specifically re: marriage and family. The two leads are incredible. The movie hits all the right notes. My second fave of the fest.

  • ★★★½ review by Alejandra on Letterboxd

    Some men are not people but diseases.

  • ★★★★ review by Dianne Lo on Letterboxd

    Love how quiet it is.

    Shows loneliness and the hard quiet life of women.

    It falls hopeless.

    With no break through, no scape its a cycle.

    Saddest stories are probably the realest ones.

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