I watched a very good movie last night, The Syrian Bride. Set in the Golan Heights, it follows the fictional wedding day of a Druze woman who is marrying by arrangement a Syrian cousin. Once she crosses into Syria, though, she will never be permitted to return.
The small scale dramas are all about her family: her sister Amal, who is trapped in an unhappy arranged marriage; her brother Marwan, a very slick guy engaged in “business” (I assume smuggling or something black/grey market); her brother Hattem, who married a Russian woman and was disowned; and her father Hammed, a political dissent recently released from prison, who is caught between the political/religious elders, Israeli security, and his family.
The larger issues are political, of course. Israeli bureaucrats create a special stamp just for Mona’s passport, which the Syrian border guards cannot by law accept because of the dispute about the ownership/nationality of the Golan. The UN person is utterly frustrated by the attempt to be an intermediary between the two, ultimately abandoning the situation in order to catch her flight home to France. So Mona is left sitting in no man’s land, not permitted to go back home (her passport had been stamped with the exit stamp already, you see) but not allowed to enter Syria.
The dialogue varied between Arabic, Hebrew, Russian, English and French. Sadly, I grasped much more of the scant Russian dialogue with my defunct Russian than I did of the Arabic. Most of the Arabic I caught was numbers, greetings, nouns and verbs; just words, random shards of dialogue.