Salt of This Sea

I was recently able to watch the film, Salt of This Sea—that was suggested to us in class. The film was directed and produced by Palestinian filmmaker and poet, Annemarie Jacir. Jacir tells the story of a Brooklyn-born women of Palestinian lineage who travels to Israel to explore the land where her family is from. This woman named Soraya (Suheir Hammad) quickly realizes that the trip she thought so highly of, turned into a nightmare as her Arab last name forces the Israeli people to treat her as a Palestinian, and not an American. The majority of the film is a portrayal of the distrust, invasive searches, harassment and interrogations that Soraya is subject to.

From checkpoints, to restaurants, to banks, Jacir condemns nearly every Israeli institution in attempt to show a belligerence and over-supremacy in the Israeli people toward Palestinians. Jacir additionally hammers this point home with symbolism throughout the entire film. For instance, after she and her new friend Emad (Saleh Bakri) rob an Israeli bank to recover the money that was taken from her grandfather’s old bank account, Soraya decides to flee back to Tel Aviv. This journey to “return home” has many physical obstacles such as fences, walls, gates, etc.

The film is very clearly attempting to send a political and emotional message to the viewers. In fact, a Palestinian-American plays the main character, Soraya, from Brooklyn who also happens to be a political activist. Suheir Hammad heard stories from her grandparents of their hometown along with the suffering they endured after the occupation. I felt this film really helped me understand the power and influence a film can have on the viewer, and also the potential for this message to make it so such a large number of people.

The trailer alone depicts the emotion and feel of the film if anyone wanted to check it out. Salt of This Sea trailer

This entry was posted in In-Class Media Post, Israel, Theatre & Film, Uncategorized and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Salt of This Sea

  1. Rachel Ison says:

    I also watched this film and after reading your comment about Suheir Hammad (who plays Soraya) I did some research on her and discovered that Salt of this Sea seems loosely based on her real-life experiences. Both she and Soraya were raised in Brooklyn after her parents, who were Palestinian refugees, immigrated there. This blending of reality and fiction, as well as the blending of American and Palestinian culture, seems to point to directing this film towards an international audience. It gives people, who have no stake in the conflict between Israel and Palestine, a more relatable viewpoint on which to view the movie.

  2. I watched the film as well but feel as though I may have gotten a different impression of Soraya’s trip. “This woman named Soraya (Suheir Hammad) quickly realizes that the trip she thought so highly of, turned into a nightmare as her Arab last name forces the Israeli people to treat her as a Palestinian, and not an American.” I personally disagree with the idea that her trip turned into a nightmare because of the Israeli treatment of her as a Palestinian rather than an American because I don’t think Soraya ever had the intention of trying to travel through Israel as an American. I think her goal all along had been to go and be a proud Palestinian and deal with the difficulties. She even proudly (and stubbornly) states in the end as they are deporting her that she is Palestinian and from there.

  3. This movie looks great–I’m going to check it out this weekend. I love this idea of cast-switching and role switching that the director used. Like Rachel is making the point above, it’s really interesting how a lot of these Palestinian directors and producers use their own life experiences and make this really beautiful movies out of them. It relates people back to the reality of what is happening in Palestine and Israel-it makes this fantasy movie real.

Comments are closed.