The Reports on Sarah and Saleem directed by Muayad Alayan [6/10]

The Reports on Sarah and Saleem” is a first for me, a Palestinian drama from Muayad Alayan that I eagerly anticipated. Set in the streets of Jerusalem, often framed against the sky like a character in its own right, the charged tale is of a casual affair between Palestinian delivery man Saleem (portrayed in rough fashion by Adeeb Safadi) and Israeli café owner Sarah (a confident role, if not always convincing, from Sivane Kretchner). The trouble is, he’s one and she’s the other, and he has a pregnant wife and she is married, with child, to an Israeli colonel. Discovery sends their worlds into a spiral. Alayan milks the initial cat and mouse story of discovery for tension, and that works well, but to me, the public and private unwinding came across as clumsy and less than fraught. The intricacies of all the cross-cultural and nationalistic subtleties were fascinating. So … an intriguing and occasionally tense window into modern Israel.

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