Fiction, director: Maha Haj, Palestine/Germany/France/Cyprus/Qatar, 2022, 108 min., Arab. with En. ST
In the presence of director Maha Haj.
Waleed (Amer Hlehel) is depressed. He is living with his family in Haifa and dreams of a career as a writer, but he is making little progress with his first novel. He instead spends most of his days doing housework and looking after his children. Regularly, but increasingly reluctantly, he goes to therapy. When the petty criminal Jalal (Ashraf Farah) moves with his family into the flat next door, Waleed is one thing above all: annoyed. Despite the odds, and armed with an ulterior motive, Waleed starts seeking the company of Jalal and an improbable friendship develops between the two men. In Mediterranean Fever, Maha Haj skilfully combines comedic and dramatic elements as well as themes such as masculinity, mental health and the pervasive political situation of Haifa’s Palestinian population. The film premiered in the Un Certain Regard section of the 2022 Cannes International Film Festival, where it also won the award for Best Screenplay.