Wedding in Galilee | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

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The mukhtar (chief) of an occupied Arab Palestinian village (Ali Mohammed Akili) wants to hold a traditional full-scale wedding for his son (Nazih Akly), but the Israeli military governor will allow it only if he and his officers are the guests of honor. As the ceremonies and festivities gradually unfold over a tense day and night, writer-director Michel Kleifi, who grew up in Nazareth and is now based in Belgium, paints an intimate and multilayered view of the village and its various factions, including the three generations of the mukhtar's family. Beautifully filmed and edited, and effectively acted by nonprofessionals, the story moves between an alienated grandfather, a group of flirtatious teenage girls, an angry group of young male terrorists, an impotent groom and a resourceful and beautiful bride (Anna Achdian) who are expected to offer proof of their marriage's consummation in the form of a bloody sheet, a horse that has strayed into a mine field, an Israeli woman soldier who changes into Arab clothes, and other diverse centers of interest, with the mukhtar in most cases providing both the narrative linkage and our sense of how the village is run from within. Eschewing propaganda for an in-depth portrait, this is a fluid and lovely film that speaks volumes about a subject--Palestinian life--that most of us know next to nothing about. (Facets Multimedia Center, 1517 W. Fullerton, Friday and Saturday, June 24 and 25, 6:45 and 9:00; Sunday, June 26, 5:30 and 7:30; and Monday through Thursday, June 27 through 30, 6:45 and 9:00; 281-4114)

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