Dancing Arabs’s greatest strength is the way it recognises and respects the painfully irreconcilable divide between opposing cultures – in this case Israel and Palestine.
There is kindness and humanity but also hatred and prejudice on both sides so it is a wise move to cast the understated Tawfeek Barhom as the lead Eyad to ground the film.
His subtle performance is strong against the raging backdrop of hate and conflict and he is complemented well by Yaël Abecassis, Daniel Kitsis and Michael Moshonov. Ultimately though they struggle with a sluggish plot that doesn’t quite do justice to their nuanced characters.
Sayed Kashua’s script develops the complex and conflicted characters necessary for such a complex and conflicted topic, while balancing the film with wry humour. Unfortunately his script and Eran Riklis’s direction leave too many interesting threads hanging.
CAST: Tawfeek Barhom, Yaël Abecassis, Daniel Kitsis, Michael Moshonov
DIRECTORS: Eran Riklis
WRITER: Sayed Kashua
SYNOPSIS: A teenage Palestinian boy attends a prestigious Israeli boarding school during the ‘80s and battles familiar obstacles to romance and friendship, complicated by his race.