Atash (Thirst) Review

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An Islamic family living on a farm, in exile (self-imposed by the father of the household), illegally divert water onto their property, but this only serves to fuel individually fuel their desire for freedom.


Funded by Israelis and filmed in a former army training camp, Tawfik Abu Wael’s debut feature is as much about misguided intentions as it is about the Palestinian Question. Having moved his family from a fiercely Islamic town to an abandoned settlement to spare daughter Roba Blal from sexual shame, Hussein Yassin Mahajne imposes a strict regime. However, the cracks in his patriarchal tyranny result in him taking increasingly desperate measures to hold his household together.

The political symbolism is subtle, and Assaf Sudri’s cinematography is often sublime. But it’s the performances of the non-professional cast that give this provocative yet affecting picture its power.

Political allegory is rarely this subtle or visually striking. But for all the Arab-Israeli allusion, this also works as a universal study of domestic domineering and defiance.