In the panorama of great film festivals often attended by the same directors, Ziad Doueiri’s The Attack is one of this year’s major curiosities. The film is an adaptation of Yasmina Khadra’s 2005 novel of the same name that was translated into over 40 languages and won many international awards, and is to make its world debut at a Special Presentation at the Toronto Film Festival (from September 6 to 16) before competing at the 60th San Sebastian Film Festival (from September 21 to 29).
A French production in co-production with Lebanon, Belgium, and Egypt, the feature film stars Ali Suliman (Paradise Now, Lemon Tree, Inheritance), Reymond Amsalem, Evgenia Dodina, Uri Gavriel, Dvir Benedek, and Karim Saleh. After his talent was revealed with West Beirut (Cannes Directors’ Fortnight 1998 and Fipresci award the same year in Toronto), Ziad Doueiri then directed Lila Says (screened at Sundance in 2005). Born in Lebanon where he lived for his first 20 years, he then studied in California before working as assistant cameraman and second team cameraman on several Quentin Tarantino films (Reservoir Dogs, Pulp Fiction, Jackie Brown).
Written by the director and Joëlle Touma, the screenplay centres on doctor Amin Jaafari, an Israeli Arab who is completely integrated in Tel Aviv society. He is married to a woman he loves, he has made a brilliant career for himself as a surgeon, and he has many Jewish friends. But after an attack on a Tel Aviv restaurant that kills 19 people, the Israeli police inform him that his wife was the suicide bomber. At first, Amin rejects the accusation, but then he is slowly overcome by doubt. His worst fears are confirmed when he receives a posthumous letter from his wife, confirming that she did it. Shattered by this revelation and wanting to understand how he was so blind to her intentions, Amin decides to set off to the Palestinian Territories to look for those whom he imagines recruited his wife. There, Amin throws himself into a dangerous world in which he is not welcome, without any regard for his safety, in search of the truth…
Produced by Jean-Bréhat, Rachid Bouchareb, and Muriel Merlin for 3B Productions (who also have Bruno Dumont’s Camille Claudel in post-production), The Attack was co-produced by Scope Pictures (Belgium), Broadcast Management Worldwide (Egypt), and Douri Films (Lebanon). Pre-acquired by Canal+ and Ciné+, the film is to be distributed in France during the first trimester of 2013 by Wild Bunch who are also handling international sales.
Translated from French
Read more exclusive contents on cineuropa.org.