• Israel
  • 52
  • STC

Widow Umm Wajih rules her family with a severe hand. A mother of 10, she took on the monumental task of marrying off all her children. She employed the badal tradition, a swap marriage arrangement where siblings from one family marry siblings from another.
Intended to fortify family lineages and loyalties, badal carries a draconian caveat-a divorce on the part of one couple automatically leads to all the other couples’ separation. When Umm’s eldest son, Wajih, a 42-year-old widower, announces his desire to remarry, he further complicates his mother’s matchmaking by including one of his young daughters in the deal. A father-daughter badal is highly unorthodox, but ever the titan, Umm remains undeterred. Once sweet relationships erode, forcing up fears and secrets, including Umm’s own scandal-her late husband’s puzzling suicide. Shot almost entirely within the family compound, director Ibtisam Ma’arana’s camera seamlessly taps into the claustrophobia of this family’s life. In the pursuit of pride and tradition, the binding custom of badal tightens some patriarchal circles, and suffocates other’s dreams.
Myrocia Watamaniuk

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