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||IMDB Rating: 7.0/10 from 2,065 votes
||Release: 21 September 2011 (France) /
||Director: Sylvain Estibal,
||Stars: Baya Belal, David Leguesse, Gassan Abbas, Ido Shaked, Khaled Riani, Khalifa Natour, Khereddine Ennasri, Lotfi Abdelli, Maurad Saad, Myriam Tekaïa, Sasson Gabai, Thierry Lopez, Ulrich Tukur, Uri Gabay, Zohar Wexler
||Synopsis: After a tempest, fishermen do not find only fish in their nets. That is what happens to Jafaar, a poor fisherman who lives poorly in Gaza. And what he hauls in is really upsetting : imagine that, a pig! An unclean animal judged impure not only by the Faith of Islam but also by the Jewish religion. Determined to get rid of the animal, Jafaar tries desperately to sell it, first to a United Nations official, then to a Jewish colony where Yelena raises pigs not for their meat but for security reasons. Of course, going unnoticed in the company of a "forbidden" animal, among his Palestinian brothers, past Israeli soldiers and under the scrutiny of Islamic fundamentalists is no bed of roses and a series of misadventures await Jafaar.... Written by Guy Bellinger
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Watch When Pigs Have Wings - Alternative Versions.
In this quite entertaining as well as very thought-provoking first
feature film, Sylvain Estibal asks a question similar to the one the
great French writer Montesquieu asked in his 1721 "Persian Letters":
"How can one be Persian?". This time, being Persian is not the issue
anymore. Estibal's more contemporaneous (but no less relevant) question
is actually: "How can one be Palestinian... and survive?"
"Le cochon de Gaza" ("When Pigs Fly", in its English-speaking version)
indeed revolves around a Palestinian, a local everyman named Jafaar,
neither heroic nor radical, who lives hand-to-mouth as a fisherman. One
day, he does a most unexpected catch : it is a pig he captures in his
nets! So, what to do with such an animal insofar as it is considered
unholy both by his Muslim co-religionists and by the Jewish occupier?
Kill it? But it is easier said than done for someone like Jafaar who
knows no violence! Sell it to someone of the U.N. forces ? But who the
hell buys a living pig? Sell it to his Palestinian brothers? He cannot
even think about that! Sell it to the Israeli? Not as easy as pie!
Eventually, as Sylvain Estibal (who wrote and directed) votes for
optimism rather than tragedy, everything comes right, but not without
many tribulations involved by hiding the pig from all, including
Jafaar's no-nonsense wife, Israeli military and police forces and (to
no avail) from Palestinian fundamentalists...
In between, the imaginative Estibal will have managed to develop many a
funny episode (the fledgling rapprochement between Jafaar's wife and
the Israeli soldier made possible by the soap opera they both watch on
TV; Jafaar as an unwilling martyr, ...) and found a few irresistible
gags (the pornographic photos of scantily clad she-pigs meant to arouse
Jafaar's pig sexually; the pig disguised as a sheep,... ) while
documenting at the same time what everyday life in Palestine is like
and delivering a sensible message of tolerance to the feuding brothers.
A serious film that does not take itself seriously, "Le cochon de Gaza"
is a breath of fresh air in the polluted atmosphere of the never-
ending Israeli-Palestinian confrontation. Much of the impact of this
pleasing philosophical tale lies on the shoulders of the marvelous
Sasson Gabai (already admirable in "The Band's Visit"), a consummate
actor who , like a Middle East Charlie Chaplin, gives the character of
Jafaar all his lightweight humanity. Thanks to Gabai, Jafaar is at once
himself, a poor creature all the others are against but who never
despairs and always tries to get by, and a funny and dignified
representative of all those who suffer on this planet and struggle for
Sylvain Estibal, on his part, proves a good filmmaker, and he manages
to reproduce the atmosphere prevailing in Gaza with faithful fidelity,
a fidelity all the more remarkable as the film was , for obvious
reasons, not shot on the spot. This is Malta, not Gaza, but you would
never realize it if you were not told in advance (sorry for letting the
cat out of the bag!). The comic episodes follow at a good pace except
at the very end, as where the momentum (along with the pleasure of the
viewer) diminishes a little. Too bad the writer-director did not find
as brilliant a conclusion to this excellent cruel tale as its
introduction and development.
But this is only a slight disappointment. All in all, "Le cochon de
Gaza" is a superior comedy with an edge. Don't overlook this good
example of intelligent entertainment. And to the question: "How can one
be Palestinian... and survive?", Sylvain Estibal's answer is
invigorating: "Yes, one can". For, where there is life there is hope.
Everywhere and in the worst conditions.
Tags for When Pigs Have Wings Full Movie
, David Leguesse
, Gassan Abbas
, Ido Shaked
, Khaled Riani
, Khalifa Natour
, Khereddine Ennasri
, Lotfi Abdelli
, Maurad Saad
, Myriam Tekaïa
, Sasson Gabai
, Thierry Lopez
, Ulrich Tukur
, Uri Gabay
, Zohar Wexler
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