Tel Aviv on Fire | Chicago Reader

Tel Aviv on Fire

Jerusalem-based Palestinian Salam (Kais Nashif) passes through the Israeli checkpoint during his daily commute to Ramallah, where he’s a lowly PA on his uncle’s soap opera, Tel Aviv on Fire, a universal hit despite its anti-Zionist premise. When he’s stopped by checkpoint commander Assi (Yaniv Biton), Salam convinces him he’s the head writer. Assi, whose wife watches the show, has some ideas for the next episode, and Salam inadvertently scores a promotion when he passes them off as his own. In order to keep his job and impress an ex-girlfriend, Salam makes a Faustian bargain, negotiating the commander’s help with the script in exchange for “good” Palestinian hummus. A lightweight but smart combination of satire, drama, and rom-com, Tel Aviv on Fire comments on modern-day Israeli-Palestinian life while humanizing the people living it. And though it’s certainly tied to a specific place and time, it’s easy to imagine similarly absurd power dynamics playing out across other borders in conflict.

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