When I Saw You

WHEN I SAW YOU (Annemarie Jacir). 96.

WHEN I SAW YOU (Annemarie Jacir). 96 minutes. Subtitled. Saturday (September 28), 6:30 pm, Bloor Hot Docs Cinema. See listing.

THE TORONTO PALESTINE FILM FESTIVAL at the Bloor Hot Docs Cinema (506 Bloor West), Jackman Hall (317 Dundas West) and TIFF Bell Lightbox (350 King West), from Saturday (September 28) to Wednesday (October 4). See listings. tpff.ca. Rating: NN

It’s 1967, just after the Six-Day War. Eleven-year-old Tarek (beautifully played by Mahmoud Asfa) struggles to adjust in school while his mother, Ghaydaa (Ruba Blal), sews piecework in a makeshift Jordanian camp.

When Tarek runs away, attempting to return to his homeland, he encounters a cell of Fedayeen revolutionaries – precursors of the PLO – who take him in.

To director Annemarie Jacir’s credit, she holds the Jordanians accountable for their poor treatment of Palestinian refugees, which in turn made it easier for the revolutionaries to recruit.

But the Fedayeen are each and every one beautiful to look at and somehow all superb musicians. Segments where they sing around the campfire are way too long.

And, please, regardless of what you think of the Israeli occupation (for the record, I’m against it), children should never be soldiers.

For ideologues only.

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