A bittersweet slice-of-life film, Wajib is the creation of Annemarie Jacir, known for When I Saw You (2012) and Salt of This Sea (2008). The film stars father-son duo Mohammad Bakri and Saleh Bakri as a father and son traveling across the city to deliver invitations for an impending wedding in the family. The whole movie covers the events of a single day, enough to make the estranged pair come to terms with their tense relationship. As the movie progresses, you too begin to question the ideologies and pragmatism in a conflicted State of Palestine.
Background and Story:
The movie starts with a shot of Abu Shadi in a car, smoking. His son, Shadi, appears and disses his father for smoking despite his fragile heart. Right from the start, it is apparent that the father and son do not see eye to eye. Abu Shadi is more conservative, having lived all his life as a single father who struggled to make two ends meet for his children. Shadi, meanwhile, moved to Italy, and was exposed to many new-age liberal ideas.
The pair put aside their differences to distribute invitations for Amal’s wedding. Amal is Shadi’s sister and Abu Shadi’s daughter, who is getting married soon. As per Palestinian custom, it is the social duty (Wajib) of the male members of the family to deliver wedding invitations to all the guests personally. Tradition brings together the estranged father and son, who over the course of a day, come head to head with their different ideologies. While Shadi criticizes the present Palestinian regime, Abu Shadi has a more pragmatic approach towards life.
Besides exposing the state of affairs on a larger scale, the film also takes a look at a father-son relationship, and how both have come to form their own views and ideologies. It is clear that Abu Shadi misses his son and now that his daughter will be leaving home, he will be left all by himself. He is also bitter about his wife leaving him many years ago, leaving him to raise the children alone. He cannot come to terms with Shadi’s relationship with his girlfriend and her father, who he seems to respect more than Abu Shadi. A father’s bittersweet journey through life is beautifully brought out in the film, showing us the often hidden emotional side of men.
Why You Should Watch:
With a crisp editing, this simple story is wonderfully portrayed on screen. It is one of those feel-good films that also makes you think. It opens room for debate on various issues, but if you just want to simply unwind and relax, the film also serves that purpose. In many instances, it reminds of your own relationship with your parents and the different ideologies you have from them. The performances are great and being father and son in real life, the pair hit it off brilliantly.
What You Should Watch Next:
Wajib will be screened again at Jio MAMI 2017, but you can also catch City of Ghosts – another Arabic film, surrounding the ISIS and their takeover of Raqqa. Or you could try April's Daughter – a Spanish film on a mother’s relationship with her daughter. Don’t forget to read our reviews of Beauty and the Dogs and The Party, and catch them all, only at the Mumbai Film Festival.
Register for Jio MAMI 2017 here and watch unlimited movies till the 18th of October.