DETROIT (WWJ) – “Omar.” While the name may not grab you, the story sure will. Omar is the story of a Palestinian baker named Omar who routinely climbs over the separation wall to visit the love of his life, Nadia.
Nadia is the sister of Omar’s childhood friend, Tarek. Tarek, Omar and their friend Amjad become freedom fighters, hatching a plan to strike the Israeli military. But does fighting for their cause really make them freedom fighters or is their motivation something more sinister? That’s just one question at the heart of this film. The other is whether Omar will risk everything to spend the rest of his life with Nadia – and that’s the question that really propels this story.
Writer, producer and director Hany Abu-Assad does an excellent job crafting a story that keeps the audience wondering what will happen next. Will Omar get caught as he climbs the separation wall? If he makes it over the wall, will he get caught on the other side? Does Nadia love Omar or is she playing him like a deck of cards? Will Omar do what the Israeli military asks of him, when doing so would betray his friends’ loyalty? Or will he remain loyal to his friends? The questions just keep on coming, which is a good thing for the filmmakers as well as the audience because getting the answers to those questions drew me – and will undoubtedly draw you – into the story.
Bringing the role of Omar to life is newcomer Adam Bakri, a talented actor who’s making his feature film debut in “Omar.” Just one month after graduating from acting school – the prestigious Lee Strasberg Institute in New York – Bakri found himself on the set of Omar. A fantastic find for Abu-Assad, who after an exhaustive search to find a leading man and directing Bakri on set, described him as “a true discovery” and “a great actor” who “leaps off the screen.” And, I have to agree. Bakri’s performance is undoubtedly at least one big reason “Omar” captured the Jury Prize Un Certain Regard at the 2013 Cannes Film Festival and is currently up for an Academy Award.
Also starring: 16-year-old Leem Lubany as Nadia; Waleed F. Zuaiter as Agent Rami; 16-year-old Samer Bisharat as Amjad; and Eyad Hourania as Tarek.
“Omar” opens in the Detroit area on February 21st. It will be showing at the Landmark Main Art in Royal Oak, the Emagine Novi and the AMC Fairlane in Dearborn.
See you at the movies!
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