Academy Award-nominated Palestinian director Hany Abu Assad (Paradise Now) won the Un Certain Regard Jury Prize at this year’s Cannes Film Festival for this noir-ish psychological thriller set in the occupied West Bank.
Omar marks the return to the Festival of Palestinian director Hany Abu-Assad, whose Paradise Now was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film — a first for a Palestinian entry. His latest, Omar, which took the Un Certain Regard Jury Prize this year at Cannes, is a noir psychological thriller set in the occupied West Bank, and a meditation on trust, friendship, loyalty, and the way individuals can become driven, consciously or not, to harm those close to their heart.
Ever since the concrete Separation Wall divided their West Bank town, childhood friends Omar (Adam Bakri), Amjad (Samer Bisharat) and Tarek (Eyad Hourani) must surreptitiously climb over the wall — risking their lives — just to hang out. Omar has an additional motive for dodging the punishing watch of the Israeli military and their bullets: he is in love with Nadia (Leem Lubany), Tarek's younger sister. Handsome and slick, he is saving his humble earnings as a baker until he is able to ask for her hand in marriage.
When Rami (Waleed Zuaiter), an Israeli military intelligence officer investigating the killing of an officer posted at a checkpoint, becomes aware of Omar's love for Nadia (a secret kept from her brother), he draws Omar into the hell of conflicted loyalties.
Masterfully paced, Omar boasts compelling
performances from its young
cast — particularly Bakri in his stunning
screen debut. As the Israeli agent Rami,
Palestinian-American actor Zuaiter (also a
co-producer on the film) delivers a chillingly
exact performance. Love, betrayal, murder,
and an adrenalin-rush ending: Omar is set to
become an Arab noir classic.