By Nicolas DAMUNI


Black comedy - Production 2012

Five art students awake to the sound of gunfire and bombardments. Since the electricity had been cut and a curfew imposed they do not know what is happening outside. To fill the time the young men decide to prepare a ‘Maqloubeh’ for lunch. They all contribute to the preparation of this traditional

    • Year of production
    • 2012
    • Genres
    • Black comedy
    • Countries
    • Languages
    • ARABIC
    • Budget
    • 0 - 0.3 M$
    • Duration
    • 14 mn
    • Director(s)
    • Nicolas DAMUNI
    • Writer(s)
    • Nicolas DAMUNI, Hani ZUROB
    • Producer(s)
    • Synopsis
    • Five friends, Mohamed from Jenin, Raafat and Mahmoud from Nablus, Karim from Hebron and Hani from Gaza, are art students and they’re sharing an apartment in Ramallah. They wake up in the morning to the sound of gunfire and bombing.
      As the electricity had been cut and a curfew imposed they don’t know what’s happening outside. At noon they decided to make lunch. They agreed to make a Maqloubeh. But quickly they start arguing on the ingredients of the original recipe. Mahmoud wants to do it with meat; Raafat with chicken, Mohamed wants to put cauliflower when Hani insist that the original recipe is with eggplants. Since a curfew is imposed and all the shops are closed they end up making it with the ingredients they have.
      They all participate in the preparation. Mahmoud washes the vegetables, Raafat cuts the onions, Karim cuts the chicken, Hani starts frying the onions and garlic, then the eggplants.
      A mobile phone rings out, and then another mobile phones start to ring one after the other. Raafat is the first to answer his phone then one by one they all answer their phones. Each receives a call from his respective family trying to find out whats happening. Hani, all while cutting the onions, answers the phone but he doesn’t seem to have any reception.
      They continue preparing the meal Mahmoud finishes washing the eggplants. He passes them one after the other to Raafat, the latter peels them and passes them over to Mohamad, who in turn cuts them into slices. Hani takes the cut eggplants towards the stove to begin frying them. The pieces of chicken are placed in a pot where onions and garlic are spirited off to cook. Cardamom, cinnamon, bay leaves are dropped in the pan before adding water. The final preparations of the dish. Onions are placed in the pan, the tomato slices on top, the eggplant well arranged, rice and the water covering the chicken. Karim adds spices. Hani covers the pan.
      The table is set. Silently, the five of them are seated, smoking. The sound of the bombing is more clearly, so is the gunfire. The food is ready. Mahmoud gets up to bring the pot. He takes a large dish and gets ready to turn the food onto the plate. Hani's phone begins to ring; he leaves the kitchen toward the room to get better reception. He answers the phone when he reaches the window in the room; while he’s speaking to his parents he opens the curtain and look outside. He finds a military tank in front of the building and soldiers running into the building. A metallic sound in the kitchen, Mahmoud is tapping on the top of the pot with serving spoon, before he takes off the pot. Hani warns them about the soldiers.
      The five guys sits in the living room, each of them take a cigarette and start smoking. Suddenly the army knocks loudly on the door then finishes by opening it. We see the gun barrels first through the door, and then a face pushes through to take a glance, and then withdraws. The five guys are still seated, cigarettes in hand. The soldiers push through the double-pane door. Light seeps into the room. The army asked the guys to walk out. The five all put slowly their cigarettes down into the ashtray and get up. They pull out the IDs from their back pockets. Each ID card has a different colour. One red, one green, two orange, one blue.
      As they exit the living room, a soldier takes their IDs, then another one pats down the five men one after the other, then again with a metal detector. One by one, the five guys sit on the floor, hands on their heads. Hani seems surprised by the army dog in front of him with a walkie-talkie on his back near a military rank. The dog receives order to search the room. Hani try lo looks around. A soldier verifies each ID card.
      Hani looks towards the staircase there are two soldiers who are pointing their weapons at him and his friends. Hani lowers his head, he finds the dog staring at him up close. Hani lowers his eyes. The dog carefully watched the five friends. The soldiers bring out two other young men from an apartment next door. The newcomers are put against the wall facing Hani and his friends. The soldiers enter the first apartment. The sound of things breaking is heard. The music from the radio suddenly stops while the sound of things breaking continues. Slowly, Hani lifts up his head. Looking in between the soldier's boots, the door of the neighbour's apartment is wide open. Inside, an old couple, the man is seated in a recliner, arms folded, looking towards the television. The woman, on the couch, is cutting green beans talking to her husband who seems not paying attention to her and instead looking towards a switched off TV.
      A soldier finds out an old picture with of one of the young men from the first apartment, holding a hunting rifle, the soldier asks firmly who the picture belongs to and where the hunting rifle is. Hani tells him that its his picture, and he doesn’t even remember where it was taken.
      The soldier places the photo in his pocket and goes back into the apartment. The couple in the neighbouring apartement are still arguing.
      A solder points his rifle at Hani, and moves it to indicate that he should get up.
      He indicates to the others to get up as well, and then with another swing of the rifle indicates that they should start walking down the stairs.
      In the building entrance, one after the other, the young men's hands are tied with plastic straps, and their heads are covered with black cloth bags. A soldier places the last bag on Hani's head. Hani asks if he can fetch his glasses. The soldier looks to his superior, who gives him the ok with a nod of the head. The soldier then removes the bag, puts the rifle into Hani's back and pushes him forward.
      While Hani is looking for his glasses in the apartment, he finds that all their belongings have been tossed into the middle of the floor; paintings destroyed, paint spilt on the floor. The kitchen is still in one piece. The cabinets are all open, so is the door of the fridge. Upon leaving the apartment, Hani spots his eyeglasses on top of the TV.
      Hani is about to go downstairs; on his way down he quickly peeks into the neighbors apartment, the soldier still behind him. The old woman arrives at the door; Hani is nose to nose with her. She asks him if they’ve prepared a maqloubeh. The soldier gives Hani another push with the rifle to walk. The old woman stares at the soldier. Hani and the soldier go down the stairs. The old woman walks in the corridor and enters her neighbour’s apartment.
      The old woman enters the kitchen; removes the pan, the dish still hot. She takes a spoon and tastes the dish. She makes a sign of satisfaction.
      The old man comes and sits down. The old woman fills two plates and sits in front of him. They begin to eat. The old man says, while eating that this maqloubeh is better than hers.
    • Partners & financing
    • Qattan Foundation
    • Beginning of shooting
    • Mar 01, 2012