Women Work

Partner With The Enemy directed by Duki Dror and Chen Shelach (Israel) 2015 documents the partnership of two women in the shipping business who set out to overcome the obstacles to cargo transport through Israeli ports to and from Palestine.


Anat and her family live in a kibbutz while Rola and her’s are in Ramallah. Their early success helps bring in new clients but increased hostilities in the region threaten to destroy the joint venture.

The full-length feature was preceded by Women In Sink, a short documentary in a Haifa hair salon.

The program will be repeated once more Friday afternoon 7 August 2015 at the Lakeside Theater in Oakland during San Francisco Jewish Film Festival 35.

For more information and tickets contact the Jewish Film Institute.

copyright © 2015 by N. A. Diaman, all rights reserved.



The 35th San Francisco Jewish Film Festival runs from 23 July to 9 August 2015 in San Francisco, Berkeley, Oakland, Palo Alto, and San Rafael.


Among the dramatic features are: A La Vie; The Law; Manpower; Mr. Kaplan; My Shortest Love Affair; Once In A Lifetime; Open Bethlehem; Papa Was Not A Rolling Stone; Partner With The Enemy; Probation Time; Red Leaves; and Villa Touma.

A couple of relevant documentaries are: The Go-Go Boys: The Inside Story Of Cannon Films and Peggy Guggenheim: Art Addict.

For more information contact the Jewish Film Institute.

copyright © 2015 by N. A. Diaman, all rights reserved.


Man Alone

An Arab physician working in a Tel Aviv hospital receives a prestigious award for his services but a distant explosion soon undermines all that he’s achieved and everything he values.


The Attack directed by Ziad Doueiri (Belgium/Qatar/Lebanon/France) 2012 movingly explores the dilemma of a man who’s devoted his life to healing but finds himself caught in the ongoing war between Israelis and Palestinians.

It will screen again at the California Theater in Berkeley Sunday 4 August 2013 during the San Francisco Jewish Film Festival.

copyright © 2013 by N. A. Diaman, all rights reserved


Freedom Calls

Automobiles transformed the world over the last century. The US the auto industry headquartered in Detroit provided good-paying jobs for workers of all races. It was an important component of the new suburban lifestyle that developed after WWII. Cars became a potent symbol of power and freedom, primarily for young men, but the benefits eventually reached women as well.

Black gold made a few lucky people rich in states such as Texas and Oklahoma where oil rigs pumped it from the ground. Though, predictably, most of the wealth was concentrated in the hands of a few at the very top of the economic pyramid.

As US fuel supplies dwindled, the search for new sources of petroleum widened to encompass rich deposits in Mexico and Venezuela, the Middle East, and North Africa with corresponding economic and political consequences.

Mobil telephones are one of the technological wonders of the present century. They promise to connect people long-isolated with others in a worldwide network. Too often separating their users from those nearest to them. Looking at other passengers in the subway, I see many of them staring at their smart phones or furiously tapping out messages.

Man Without A Cell Phone, directed by Sameh Zoabi (Palestine, Israel, Belgium, France, Qatar) 2011, captures the restless spirit of the young craving romance and freedom. Jawdat uses his cell phone to make dates with Muslim, Christian, and Jewish girls. His father, Salem, considers the cell phone tower at the edge of his land a health risk for the entire community.

The story is set in the home village of the director, who now lives in Brooklyn. Its inhabitants, Arab Israelis, are Palestinians living within Israel. This delightful comedy provides a fresh look at everyday life in the Middle East. Very much in touch with the times. The perfect opening film for the 16rh Annual Arab Film Festival!

copyright © 2012 by N. A. Diaman, all rights reserved

Arab Fest

The 16th Annual Arab Film Festival opens Thursday 11 October 2012. The screenings will take place in San Francisco, San Jose, and Berkeley. Man Without a Cell Phone directed by Sameh Zoabi (Palestine, Belgium, France, Qatar) 2011 is the opening night feature at the Castro Theatre.

Other festival films include: Another Night On Earth directed by David Munoz (Spain) 2012; Death For Sale directed by Faouzi Bensaïdi (Belgium, France, Morocco) 2011; Farewell Exile directed by Lamia Alami (Morocco, Switzerland, France) 2011; Letter To Sasha directed by Andoni Jaén and Javier Reverte (Morocco, Switzerland, France) 2012; My Name Is Not Ali directed by Viola Shafik (Egypt, Germany) 2011; Pegasus directed by Mohamed Mouftakir (Morocco) 2010; Private Sun (Palestine) 2011; Rough Hands directed by Mohamed Asli (Morocco) 2011; Teta directed by Merva Faddoul (Lebanon) 2011; The Virgin, The Copts, And Me directed by Namir Abdel Messeeh (France, Qatar) 2012; Words Of Witness directed by Mai Iskander (USA, Egypt) 2012; and Yamo directed by Rami Nihawi (Lebanon) 2011.

For more information and tickets contact AFF.

copyright © 2012 by N. A. Diaman, all rights reserved

Identity Crises

The Other Son directed by Lorraine Lévy, 2011 (France) was the centerpiece of the San Francisco Jewish Film Festival 32. The story begins when Joseph, the son of an Israeli couple, who is about to be inducted into military service, is discovered to have a different blood type than his parents.

I was initially amused at the premise but soon became emotionally drawn into the difficult dilemma each character is forced to confront.

The Israeli-Palestinian conflict, that has generated decades of hate and violence, is explored from a more intimate perspective. The situation is beautifully handled by the director without sentimentality, melodrama, or sensationalism. And careful consideration was taken with the ending.

Of course, in real life it would take much longer for each individual to come to terms with the circumstances, and perhaps not all of them would have been able to overcome rigid cultural conditioning.

The Other Son is a wonderfully hopeful work that deserves wide and enthusiastic support both as cinematic art and as a generous affirmation of human possibility.

copyright © 2012  by N. A. Diaman, all rights reserved