Kino Eye: Wedding in Galilee

Submitted by AWL on 1 June, 2021 - 2:33 Author: John Cunningham
Wedding in Galilee

Wedding in Galilee, an early Palestinian feature film, was directed by Michel Khleifi in 1987. Abu Adel, a Palestinian village mayor, wants to celebrate his son’s wedding in traditional style, but the local Israeli military commander insists the curfew regulations must be observed (the film is set in the period of “military government” of Arab areas inside Israel). Eventually, he agrees to let the wedding go ahead but on condition that he and his officers attend, to which the Mayor reluctantly concedes.

Unsurprisingly, the presence of the soldiers creates tensions. Some relatives threaten to boycott the proceedings. But despite everything the wedding goes ahead.

In the heat, an Israeli female officer faints and is helped by the Palestinian women who dress her in cooler, Palestinian clothes. According to tradition the groom is brought to the wedding on a horse, but as the guests feast the horse wanders into a nearby minefield. The Israeli soldiers fire guns to try and frighten it back to its stable, but the Mayor whistles and speaks its name and the horse gently trots back to him. Khleifi, of Christian-Arab descent, has lived in Belgium since 1970, while the actor who plays the Israeli commander, Makram Khouri, is a Palestinian born Arab-Israeli who has won Israel’s highest award in the arts.

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