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The Idol

"A unique, Gaza-shot, real-life, coming of age tale...Out of the war rubble emerges one of the most irresistible movies of the year." (SF Chronicle)

“The Idol, a feel-good film about a Palestinian boy’s improbable ascent to pop stardom, takes place mostly in Gaza, a place not associated with feeling good. But out of the war rubble emerges one of the most irresistible movies of the year.

“The story, based on real events, begins as we meet a ragtag bunch of kids who want to make it big by forming a band. In one delightful sequence after another, the children procure secondhand, worn-out instruments for wedding gigs. Nour (Hiba Atallah) encourages Mohammed (Qais Atallah) to follow his dreams of performing at the Cairo Opera Hall — and thus escape the shadows of Gaza’s bombed-out buildings.

“Soon, though, tragedy strikes, and Mohammed’s aspirations seem as hemmed in as his embattled city. But when an older Mohammed (Tawfeek Barhom), now a university student, discovers upcoming “Arab Idol” auditions in Cairo, he becomes determined to give a voice to his dreams — and to his people.

“Gifted director Hany Abu-Assad keeps things interesting — and urgent. He also doesn’t shy away from the grim images of collateral war damage: His Gaza is both despairing and hauntingly beautiful.” - San Francisco Chronicle

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