• Golden Globe Awards

Let it Be Morning

Let it Be Morning addresses the Israeli Arab community and the ways in which they deal with life and its challenges when they find themselves under siege on occasion and without warning. The film is directed by Israeli filmmaker Eran Kolirin (2007s The Band’s Visit, later adapted as a Broadway musical; 2016s Beyond the Mountains and Hills), who deftly adapts the book by Palestinian writer Sayed Kashua, on which Let it Be Morning is based.
While the Israeli-Palestinian conflict can rarely be described as comedic, Kolirin, who also wrote the script, offers a satiric look at the circumstances that can be described as rather absurd. The film begins with an Arab wedding in a small village in Israel, as protagonist Sami (Alex Bakri) who lives in Jerusalem, returns to his hometown village where the wedding of his younger brother is taking place. At the end of the wedding ceremony, there’s a scene featuring a cote of doves, freed from their cages but reluctant to fly, a tableau which is at once amusing but can also be taken as emblematic of the situation the Palestinians often find themselves in Israel.
“It’s symbolic of a lot of questions relating to freedom and being enclosed – and the patience [required to endure] being caged for no reason that they know of – and then everybody expects them to fly, also metaphorically,” says Kolirin. The doves were not in the book. “I felt it was something that was relevant to the film.”
The story continues with Sami, eager to leave the provincial village of his childhood and keen to return to work in the big city of Jerusalem where he holds a job in the tech world, not to mention a mistress who awaits. Sami and his wife and son leave for the journey ahead, only to be faced with an unexpected roadblock secured by the Israeli military. Along with the other disgruntled, yet for the most part, accepting Palestinians, Sami and his family have no choice but to return to the village where he must contend with his family. For the patriarch Tarek (Salim Daw), whose old-school values render him full of disgust that the group of patient Arabs didn’t storm the blockade en masse, to hell with the consequences – like they would have done in the old days – the generational divide adds yet more tension.
One of the more comedic aspects of the film occurs when one of the Israeli guards who mans the blockade seems more interested in his guitar than performing the macho-fueled, stereotypical Israeli antics we see so often in films, particularly when they are in direct conflict with the Arab community.
Let it Be Morning was shot in 24 days with an acclaimed all-Arab cast, some of whom the director knew well, namely award-winning Palestinian actress Juna Suleiman, who plays Sami’s wife, Mira. “We were shooting on the border of Lebanon and there were rainy days, and a lot of heavy weather, so it was quite challenging physically.” But evidently, Kolirin is of the glass-half-full philosophy. “Those things are very small for me, bearing in mind what was really achieved. It was the best time of my life; with the best people I ever knew.”
Kolirin offers a fresh take on the exhaustively well-documented, seemingly intractable Israeli/Palestine conflict. He paints a picture with empathy and even-handedness, though not necessarily by design. “I’m not there to make films which are even, and I don’t see it as a goal of mine,” he insists. “I wanted to be true to the characters, and I treat all my characters, I hope, in the same manner in which I treat people in life, no matter their origin or their background story. It’s about being faithful to the character.”