Furtive fucking in the back of a van: this is what Sarah and Saleem’s relationship consists of. A few times a week, when Sarah has closed her café and Saleem is done with his delivery rounds. It might be better if they didn’t do it – they are both married, and so are risking their domestic happiness. But what makes the affair even more daring is that she’s Jewish and he’s Palestinian. In divided Jerusalem, this goes way beyond the private. Then Sarah and Saleem are seen together in a club in Bethlehem, and it’s not long before Saleem has the security services from both sides breathing down his neck. A simple extramarital affair becomes a spy sensation, which is given an extra political dimension by the fact that Sarah’s husband is a high-ranking officer in the Israeli army.
This crippling supervision of the personal – in the form of state surveillance and social control – on both sides of the wall dividing Israel and Palestine was previously tackled by director Muayad Alayan in several short films, as well as in his feature Love, Theft and Other Entanglements (2015). His brother and regular filmmaking partner Rami wrote the screenplay for The Reports on Sarah and Saleem, their second feature, which leads us step by step into a world where it is all but impossible not to get caught up in politics.
Winner Hubert Bals Fund Audience Award, IFFR 2018. For the screenplay of this film Rami Alayan was awarded IFFR’s Special Jury Award for exceptional artistic achievement.