Wajib follows an estranged son, Shadi, and father, Abu Shadi, who have to spend the day together delivering wedding invitations in an Israeli tradition known as ‘Wajib’.
The film splits most of its time between visits to family and friends, and the car journeys in between, where the tension between Shadi and his father Abu Shadi rises steadily and occasionally breaks out into full blown arguments. The writing conveys the experience of returning to live with parents after being independent, and having to readjust to their sometimes outdated ideas and opinions. Although much of the conflict focuses on the Israel/Palestine politics, you don’t have to be from Israel to understand the drama of reverting back to child status when at home with family.
Although it is amusing for the first part of the film to see the pair travelling to relatives across the city, the amount of auxiliary characters makes for an overcrowded film that throws comical situations at the father and son that, more often than not, fail to stick because of the thinness of those relationships that are shown onscreen.
In absence of more developed relationships with extended family, the relationship between Shadi and his father is well done, carefully balancing the dynamic of a modern son and an older father who will soon be left to live alone after his daughter is married. The actors work well together to deliver this dynamic, of a surface of roughness, but with both ultimately caring for the other.
Wajib is a sweet and interesting dramatized look into an Israeli tradition and the idea of tradition under threat of modernisation. But alongside the comedy, family drama and social political commentary, it becomes a film so concerned with including as many ideas as possible that doesn’t quite make enough of an impact.
CAST: Mohammad Bakri, Saleh Bakri, Maria Zreik
DIRECTOR: Annemarie Jacir
WRITER: Annemarie Jacir
SYNOPSIS: A father and his estranged son must come together to hand deliver his daughter’s wedding invitations to each guest as per local Palestinian custom, in this rousing family drama from Annemarie Jacir (When I Saw You).[TRAILER FORTHCOMING]