FILM REVIEW – The Present “Farah Nabulsi materializes a powerhouse combination of director, writer and producer”

Farah Nabulsi materializes a powerhouse combination of director, writer and producer for her realistic fiction film motivated by the tragedies endured by the Palestinian people.

Farah Nabulsi materializes a powerhouse combination of director, writer and producer for her realistic fiction film motivated by the tragedies endured by the Palestinian people. Her newest short film The Present,  starring distinguished actor Saleh Bakri, invites audiences along to join a father and daughter on a shopping trip for an anniversary gift while encountering challenges surrounding the Palestine-Israeli conflict. The Present was well received by audiences, winning qualification for the 2021 Oscars, an Audience Award for Best Film at the Clermont- Ferrand International Short Film Festival, another Audience Award at the Brooklyn Film Festival, The Jury Award for Best Live Action Short at the Cleveland International Film Festival, and the Special Jury Bridging the Borders Award and Audience Pick at Palm Springs International ShortFest. All awards rightfully deserved by this powerful film encouraging non-Palestinians to understand and grasp the pain of the Palestine people.

Yusef and his family experience the hardships shouldered by millions of Palestineans and Nabulsi embodies their burdens through his back pain. Yusef’s ache enables him to conduct routine errands, and he eventually learns to tolerate his unpleasant reality. Still, the more substantial the burden, the more his back slowly debilitates him, refusing to let him live a life of fulfilment. The simplicity of shopping is often considered a mundane feat and is a rarely acknowledged freedom. Nabulsi implores audiences to appreciate the simple privileges of life because, for some, a mere grocery run involves ministrations similar to a criminal during their intake.

As a fellow Palestinian, Nabulsi presents the oppression of her people in straightforward terms allowing viewers to emphasize with Yusef’s frustration. As Yusef’s is denied entry for his inability to fit his gift through the final checkpoint by a mere few inches defeated cries pour through the screen, igniting the audience with bewilderment. How can a selfless task and a simple request to cross a small distance beyond the barrier invoke pain-ridden pleas, guns cocked, and force a child to execute an adult’s decision? Nabulsi not only exposes the struggles of Palestinians but the ease in which freedom is stolen.

Nabulsi not only exposes the struggles of Palestinians but the ease in which freedom is stolen. Surely a film that will stand out for Academy Voters and one we feel deserves the Oscar!

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