First Feature Competition
Bassel Ghandour’s gripping debut is as tightly woven as the interlocking alleys it depicts – a neighbourhood where gossip circles mercilessly and reputation is everything.
Yousef Abed Alnabi, Rula Nasser
Emad Azmi, Baraka Rahmani, Munther Rayahnah
Jordan-Egypt-Saudi Arabia-Qatar 2021. 116min
With English subtitles
Ali and Lana’s young love blossoms in secret, or so they think. When Lana’s mother Aseel is blackmailed to preserve her daughter’s honour, she turns to local gangster Abbas to set things right. In doing so, she unleashes a vicious chain of events. And when Lana begins to wonder what Ali is hiding, Aseel is also forced to enlist her ‘good for nothing’ ex-husband. Meanwhile, when Abbas’s reign over the alleys feels compromised, all eyes turn to his fierce and enigmatic right-hand woman Hanadi (Palestinian actress Maisa Abd Elhadi, in her most electric role to date). As lives intertwine and collide, so do the buried pasts that lurk beneath the surface, exposing the delicate line between trust and friendship, and the stories we tell ourselves to survive.
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