Sand Storm | Sufat Chol | 2016 Seattle International Film Festival
Israel | 2016 | 87 minutes | Elite Zexer
Two Bedouin women, a teenager and her mother, dare to defy polygamist marital traditions in southern Israel. Winner of the World Cinema Grand Jury Prize at the 2016 Sundance Film Festival.
Deep in the Negev desert, Bedouin villager Suliman has given his eldest child, Layla, many of the trappings of modern life—a cell phone, driving lessons, an education—instilling in her a sense of independence. But in other ways he is firmly rooted in the patriarchal past, with all the power and privilege it confers. When he takes a second wife, Layla is enlisted to help fix up the fancy new home he's built next door to his existing family's humbler accommodations. Meanwhile, his first wife, Jalila, grits her teeth and joins in the preparations, but is eventually escorted away by the local religious leader to make way for her replacement. But when Suliman decides, for his own murky reasons, to marry Layla off to a middle-aged man she barely knows, mother and daughter both decide to take a stand—with unexpected outcomes. Winner of the Grand Jury Prize in the World Cinema Dramatic competition at the Sundance Film Festival, Elite Zexer's first feature is a psychologically astute exploration of the complex relationships among women in male-dominated societies, and their revolutionary potential for change.
Elite Zexer graduated from Tel Aviv University, where she received both a BFA and MFA, the latter in film directing. She also directed the documentary short Fire Department Bnei Brak before helming her first feature.
Sponsored by Issaquah Press
Director: Elite Zexer
Principal Cast: Lamis Ammar, Ruba Blal, Hitham Omari, Khadija Alakel, Jalal Masarwa