• Golden Globe Awards

Sand Storm (Israel)

The dynamics concerning women in Arab culture are at the center of Sand Storm. The directorial debut from Israeli writer/director Elite Zexer follows a contemporary Arab-speaking family living in a village of Southern Israel. Jalila (Ruba Blal-Asfour) is a matriarch preparing for her husband Suliman’s (Haitham Omari) marriage to a younger second wife. She takes her suppressed emotions out on her eldest daughter, Layla (Lamis Ammar), who has a clandestine relationship with a boy at school. When Jalila discovers their relationship, she forbids Layla from continuing to see her boyfriend.Layla believes that reason and dialogue will be enough to win her freedom, but quickly realizes that those are not options in her village. As Layla, her mother, her sisters, and the men of the village all navigate territory interspersed with emotional landmines, Sand Storm spins a thrilling story of secrets and revenge.The fact that Jalila cannot stand Layla’s romance and wants it over, is the key to the tragedy of Sand Storm, and it opens a door onto not only men’s to oppression of women, but also women oppressing themselves, and their own daughters. Zexer endeavors to show how outdated systems of control can be self-perpetuating in today’s modern world.Once Suliman learns about his daughter’s ‘forbidden’ relationship, she quickly starts to find a suitable man to marry her (unbeknownst to her). This is where the unexpected happens in the story and Layla’s rebellion leads to a series of events that have unpredictable consequences.