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