The Attack

Ziad Doueiri

The Attack

Ziad Doueiri

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An Israeli-Palestinian surgeon, shocked to discover that his wife was involved in a suicide-bomb attack, ventures into Palestinian territory to confront the people who recruited her, in this gripping adaptation of Yasmina Khadra's international bestseller.

Programmer's Note

When a suicide bomber strikes at a Tel Aviv café, Dr. Amin Jaafari (Ali Suliman), a Palestinian citizen of Israel and a highly respected surgeon, treats the wounded victims of the blast at a nearby hospital — at least those who will let him, as some refuse to be attended to by a Palestinian. Jaafari is not unaccustomed to such affronts, but this dreadful day has a far ruder shock in store. Late that night, Jaafari is called back to the hospital to identify the body of the bomber: his wife.

In an instant, Jaafari’s comfortable life is shattered. Grief-stricken, wracked by guilt and tormented by his own incomprehension, the doctor embarks on a desperate journey to understand his wife’s motivations for her terrible act. Retracing his wife’s recent trip to the occupied West Bank, where she had claimed to be visiting relatives, Jaafari goes in search of the people who recruited her, a voyage fraught with danger and surprises. What begins as an investigation, however, gradually evolves into a painful and revealing self-reckoning, as Jaafari is forced to confront the sum of his own life’s choices and the shaky foundations of his overlapping identities: as a Palestinian, an Israeli citizen, a doctor, and a husband.

Adapted from the critically acclaimed novel by the pseudonymous Algerian writer Yasmina Khadra, the new film from director Ziad Doueiri (West Beirut) is both a psychological thriller and an incisive exploration of one of the most complex political-ideological issues of our time. Lucid, precise and fearless, The Attack foregoes sermonizing, simplification and manipulation to remind us of cinema’s ability to engage with a charged political reality, to undermine the stereotypes that help fuel it and reveal it in its full, tragic, human dimension.

Rasha Salti

Director Biography

    • Ziad Doueiri
    • Ziad Doueiri was born in Lebanon and studied filmmaking in the United States. He has made several short films and worked as an assistant cameraman on several features directed by Quentin Tarantino. His directorial debut West Beirut (98) screened at the Festival, where it shared the FIPRESCI International Critics Prize. His other features include Lila Says (04), which also screened at the Festival, and The Attack (12).