Sense of Need | Chicago Reader

Sense of Need

Shrady Srour's debut narrative feature (2004) about a Palestinian student in San Francisco is so idiosyncratic it drifts into the experimental, with mixed results. Srour plays Joseph, whose tension over his approaching finals unleashes traumatic memories of Israel and exacerbates his sense of cultural dislocation. Nervous exhaustion sends him to the hospital, where Arab and Jewish doctors each claim him as their own, as if somehow they knew Joseph's home sits on the border between west and east Jerusalem. The theme of Joseph's divided personality is further explored in a violent animated sequence and a meandering subplot about psychotherapy, but these don't work as well as the darkly comic flashbacks to Israel, where Srour displays a debt to Jacques Tati and American slapstick. In English and subtitled Arabic and Hebrew. 90 min.

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