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2005 | 56min.
Language: Arabic (Hebrew/English subtitles)


  • Director: Ibtisam Mara'ana
  • Screenwriter: Ibtisam Mara'ana
  • Cinematographer: Avigail Sperber
  • Editors: Sara Salomon, Rivka Yogev
  • Original Score: Uri Ofir


'A Badal deal marriage' usually means when a brother and sister from one family marry a sister and brother from another family - interlocking the two couples for ever.

Divorce on the part of one couple will immediately lead to the divorce of the other part of the deal. This is common practice in Muslim families in the Middle East.

The film follows a family during the process of putting such a deal together. It portrays the lives of Palestinian women living within Israel: their difficulties and struggle to be a part of their traditional society vs. the quest to maintain their full rights as women, and citizens of a Jewish state.

Um Waji, my aunt, 67 years old, married off her 10 sons and daughters in Badal deals. A Badal deal is a swap-marriage arrangement, where a brother and a sister from one family marry a sister and a brother from another family–interlocking the two couples forever. Divorce on the part of one couple will automatically lead to divorce of the other side of the deal.

Most of the film is shot in the courtyard where Um Waji lives surrounded by her sons and their families. And they all obey her wishes.

Now Um Waji is looking for a Badal arrangement for her eldest son Waji, a widower, and his 21-year-old daughter Miada, an unusual arrangement.

I follow my aunt as she goes about arranging it, asking her son and granddaughter how they feel about it and observing what goes on in her courtyard.

Through the story of the girls in Um Waji’s courtyard, the film examines the cycle of oppression exercised by women against women.

Film Festivals & Awards

  • HOT DOCS 2006, Best mid-length documentary.
  • "Sole e Luna" Doc Fest, First prize 2006.
  • Winner of Spirit of Freedom Award for Best Project
  • IDFA 2005, Silver wolf competition.
  • Montpellier Film Festival, 2006.
  • International women film festival, Israel 2006.
  • International Human Rights film festival, Nazareth 2006.
  • Tempo Documentary Festival 2006.
  • "Middle East: What Can Cinema Do?" Paris 2007.
  • Roma Film Festival, 2007.


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