The Milky Way

on August 01, 2008 by Shlomo Schwartzberg
   The first fully-funded Arabic movie made in Israel is a conventional but vividly outlined drama about an occupied Arab village in Galilee in 1964. Centering around a young man, traumatized by the death of his parents during Israel's 1948 War of Independence, "The Milky Way" deals compellingly with illicit love, Arab hierarchal customs and the uneasy relationship with the Israeli military governor of the village. Ali Nasser is a born filmmaker and he makes each shot count, aided by a skilled cast mostly made up of newcomers; the exception is veteran Israeli-Arab actor Muhammad Bakri ("Beyond the Walls"), who is fine as Mahmoud, the brave conscience of the village. Beautifully shot, "The Milky Way" only falters in its lack of ambition. Too much of the film is surface<197>memorable but not deep. In many ways, it treads the same ground as Michel Khleifi's "Wedding in Galilee," but is a simpler, less complex version.    Starring Muhammad Bakri and Suheil Haddad. Directed, written and produced by Ali Nasser. A Kino release. Drama. Hebrew- and Arabic- language; subtitled. Unrated. Running time: 100 min.
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