The Arty Semite

Faced With Demolition, Bedouin Seek Answers

By Anne Joseph

Set in an unnamed village in the Negev desert, Ami Livne’s low budget directorial debut, “Sharqiya,” tells the story of a Bedouin family whose home is served a demolition order by Israeli authorities. The film won the 2012 Jerusalem Film Festival’s Haggiag Award for best feature film, screened this month at the U.K. Jewish Film Festival and will make its American premiere November 8 at Manhattan’s Other Israel Film Festival.

One of the most striking aspects of “Sharqiya” is its breathtaking cinematography. But though the wide-angle panoramic views of the Israeli desert linger after viewing, the film offers far more than just aesthetic pleasure. Through its thoughtful, sensitive portrayal of Bedouin life and conflict, it examines concepts of home and place.

Two brothers, Kamel (Ednan Abu Wadi) and Khaled (Ednan Abu Muhrab), one single, the other married, live in tin shacks on land that has been in their family for generations. The audience sees the simplicity of their lifestyle: food is cooked on open fires, their electricity is supplied from a generator and water is sold from a tank.

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