Mars at Sunrise | Chicago Reader

Mars at Sunrise

Jessica Habie, making her narrative feature debut after a series of short documentaries, tells the story of a Palestinian painter (Ali Suliman) who's arrested and tortured by an Israeli soldier (Guy Elhanan). Partly based on the life and work of displaced artist Hani Zurob, this stylish drama proves that even the most striking images require context to truly leave a mark. Contrary to most filmmakers addressing the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, Habie favors impressionism and over gritty realism, using fantasy sequences, showy symbolism, and a narrative framework similar to that of Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. But whereas that Michel Gondry comedy kept its central plot in focus as it became more visually elaborate, this just grows more alienating. In Arabic, Hebrew, Persian, Russian, and Yiddish with subtitles.

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