Staff & contributors

, 2013

Ask yourself how many Palestinian movies you have seen before. You will want to give this smart and twisty Academy Award nominee by Golden Globe winning director Hany Abu-Assad a chance to change your answer. Omar, a Palestinian baker, climbs the West Bank Wall to see his lover, Nadia, whom he wants to marry. When Israeli soldiers catch and humiliate him, he gets implicated in the shooting of an Israeli soldier, and eventually gets arrested and faces an extremely lengthy sentence. Later, his captors’ motives and his own get tangled up in politics, friendship, trust, and love. Omar is a highly realistic, compelling crime drama you don’t want to miss.

Genre: Drama, Romance, Thriller

Actor: Adam Bakri, Adi Krayem, Doraid Liddawi, Eyad Hourani, Leem Lubany, Samer Bisharat, Waleed Zuaiter, Walid Abed Elsalam

Director: Hany Abu-Assad

Rating: Not Rated, Unrated

Ballet has always captivated with its grace and poise, so of course it captivated cinema as well, with classics such as The Red Shoes and Black Swan centered on the dance, the culture, and of course, the drama. The juxtaposition of the ideal feminine form and the ugliness of competition, the sabotage, and the objectification are regular topics, but The American adds the national identity into its themes, tackling the anxieties of a young American in an academy that isn't friendly to outsiders. It's stunning. It gives justice to the journey of the real ballerina Joy Womack, portrayed excellently by Talia Ryder with breathtaking ease, and given dramatic flourish through the direction of James Napier Robertson. While it doesn’t quite surpass classic ballet films, Joika proves that real life ballet can be more emotional, more traumatic than any drama made about the dance.

Genre: Drama

Actor: Andrzej Andrzejewski, Andrzej Kłak, Borys Szyc, Charlotte Ubben, Diane Kruger, Edyta Torhan, Karolina Gruszka, Maciej Nawrocki, Marek Kasprzyk, Natalia Osipova, Natasha Alderslade, Oleg Ivenko, Robert Gulaczyk, Talia Ryder, Tomasz Kot

Director: James Napier