Director: Shady Srour
Genre: Narrative Feature
Running Time: 81 min
Language: Arabic and Hebrew with English subtitles
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With its rich biblical history, the 3,000-year-old city of Nazareth is considered one of the holiest cities in all of Israel. Recognized for being the birthplace of Jesus Christ and the site where the Archangel Gabriel announced the Immaculate Conception to the Virgin Mary, Nazareth is known today as the “Arab capital of Israel.” With thousands of people making the pilgrimage to this ancient spiritual mecca each year, faith has become big business for many who live here, a budding industry predicated on the mantra: if it’s holy, they will buy it.
Adam (Shady Srour) has a lot on his mind. He hates his job, his father is ill, and his wife, Lamia (Laëtitia Eïdo), just announced she is pregnant. A Christian Arab living in Nazareth his entire life, Adam has long witnessed swarms of vendors profiting off of people’s faith every day. With a little bit of ingenuity and hustling, it may be a viable way to make a living. After overhearing a priest lead a tour on Mount Precipice, the answer to Adam’s predicament becomes clear. He envisions the most perfect souvenir to peddle around Nazareth – little bottles of holy air! Using the small glass-blown bottles left over from his father’s shop, Adam climbs Mount Precipice each day, bottles the air, and sells it to eager tourists.
HOLY AIR’s deadpan, highly affecting comedy reminds us that when the world throws us a curveball, sometimes the best solution is to laugh it off and carry on.
Special Guests: Skype interview with Shady Srour, writer/director/star of Holy Air.
For Fans of: Comedies, foreign cinema, Israeli cinema, religion, the films of Larry David, the films of Wes Anderson, the films of Woody Allen
Official Selection: Jerusalem Film Festival, Sydney Film Festival, and Tribeca Film Festival
Awards: FIPRESCI Prize: Israeli First Film at Jerusalem Film Festival; nominated for Best International Narrative Feature at Tribeca Film Festival
Reviews: “A winningly satiric comedy that’s as tenderhearted as it is sly… whatever the setting, and whether or not the air around the players is holy, Srour’s subtly crafted film unfolds as a memorable and confidently imagined human comedy.” (Sheri Linden, The Hollywood Reporter)
“The focus on an Israeli community in which Christians, Jews and Muslims co-exist gives the film a distinctive flavor which sets it apart from much of the other cinema from the region.” (Wendy Ide, ScreenDaily)
BE HAPPY TONIGHT
Screening with Holy Air
Directed by Leah Tonic | Narrative Short | Israel | 2016 | 18 min | Hebrew with English subtitles
A young attractive couple decides to change their identities and party in the city for one night, not anticipating the repercussions that will affect their strict Orthodox lifestyle the following morning.
Official Selection: San Francisco Jewish Film Festival