Love, Theft, and Other EntanglementsBerlin Film Festival 2015
Over the past few years, cinema from the Middle East has been ostentatiously self-aware. The 2011 Academy Award-nominated documentary 5 Broken Cameras took a critical posture against the furthering expansion of Israeli settlements. Zero Motivation, a large success at the Tribeca Film Festival and Israeli Academy Awards, was a comically real presentation of females roles in the Israeli army. Now in Love, Theft and Other Entanglements, the western world is introduced to Palestinian neorealism.
Mousa is the archetypical thief. Whether it is nice Israeli cars or married Palestinian women, Mousa will steal it if he can. One day, though, this thief steals a car with an Israeli soldier, Avi, in the trunk. As it turns out, Avi is a hostage in the middle of a highly publicised political scandal between Israel and Palestine. Mousa must now be mindful of his every move, as any misstep could lead to trouble with the authorities – or worse. This is especially bad, since Mousa is seeking to leave Palestine for much-greener European pastures.
Love Theft is filmed in stark chiaroscuro. The lines defining the characters are sharp and highly visible. However, the political bias in the film is not so easily contrast. The characters are fleshed-out to a state of moral ambivalence. It is never obvious what the sentiments of the audience should be towards Mousa or Avi; or their situation for that matter. As the film also equally presents injustice amongst Palestinians and Israelis, traditional bias is not easily justified. It is in this aspect Love, Theft and Other Entanglements is the most satisfying.
Love, Theft is quintessential neorealism. Filmmaking in this vein of melodrama, of course, has divisive effects. The emphasised reality and overacting in Love, Theft are liable to dissuade some viewers. Yet, the narrative of such films is inundated with simple and magnetic entertainment. Furthermore, as Middle Eastern cinema is still largely alien to Western audiences, it is intrinsically interesting.
Love, Theft and Other Entanglements is a bit overwhelming with the crime story. Much of the narrative and themes are reminiscent of typical Hollywood B-movies from 1950 and earlier. However, the atmosphere in Love, Theft is that of optimistic development. In a region so plagued with strife, that is a hopeful omen.
Love, Theft, and Other Entanglements does not yet have a UK release date
Read more of our reviews and interviews from the festival here.
For further information about Berlin Film Festival 2015 visit here.
Watch the trailer for Love,Theft, and Other Entanglements here: