A while ago, I stated on one of my Facebook status that I believed humor, not philosophy or politic, would save the world. Apparently, comedian and movie director Ghazi Albuliwi, originally from Jordan but raised in Brooklyn, thinks the same. As Haaretz reports in an article about an interview with him,
Albuliwi has a healthy fondness for provocation and a deep belief that humor can topple walls and illuminate the human and absurd facets of traumatic events such as the second intifada, 9/11 or, in an entirely different realm, the New York dating scene.
Reading this interview, I have a very good feeling about his last movie, Peace after mariage, and thus I really hope it will be screened in Europe as well. Here are a few quotes from the Interview that should make you feel like going to see this movie if it is showed near you.
Like Arafat, the character in his film, Albuliwi dated quite a few Israeli women. “Write that I am looking for an Israeli bride,” he instructs me, adding, “Do you think there will be single women at the festival? That’s the only reason I’m going to Jerusalem.”
A notable one [scene] shows Arafat, who is trying to earn money as an actor, going to an audition in which he is asked to portray a mentally unstable Palestinian who is about to perpetrate a suicide attack. Wearing an improvised explosive belt, Arafat tells the American casting people, “I don’t know if this character is credible. There’s nothing anywhere in the Koran about 72 virgins. And who would want to blow himself up for 72 virgins anyway? Give me one whore who can get the job done and I’d be happy.”
Later, after he and Michaela sleep together for the first time, he tells his best friend proudly: “This is the first time a Palestinian ever exploded next to an Israeli without causing loss of life. I deserve the Nobel Peace Prize.”
“After the 9/11 disaster, no American girl would go out with me. It was the pits. The attitude toward Muslims changed overnight. The whole dating scene was off-limits. Bin Laden forced a period of abstinence on me, and I will never forgive him for it.”
“As an example of how he blurs fiction and reality, there is a scene that Albuliwi has created in “Peace After Marriage” that is based on a traumatic incident from his past. A flashback that is meant to make it clear to the audience why Arafat’s parents are so desperate to marry him off shows the family in an Arab village in the West Bank − about to marry him to a Muslim girl. But he changes his mind and refuses to sign the marriage contract. The bride’s family pursues him and threatens to kill him. In an attempt to save his life, Arafat runs toward an Israeli army checkpoint, holds up his hands and shouts, in English, “Don’t shoot!” The soldiers aim their weapons at him, but in the end save him.”
“Every time I arrive at Ben-Gurion airport I undergo a security check of four hours at least,” he says. “I usually try to make them laugh and start up with the female checkers, and at some point they realize that I am actually enjoying it − and then they let me go.”
Journalist: Do you think they will believe you when you tell them that you are the director of the opening film of the Jewish Film Festival?
“That’s hard to imagine,” he laughs. “They’ll probably think, ‘Wow, these Hamas guys are really sophisticated. We’ve never heard that story before.’ My dream is to be so famous that even the security people at Ben-Gurion airport will recognize me.”
Well, our dream would be that it is possible for anyone, not just the VIP, to travel through Ben-Gurion without being singled out for special security check, and that will happen only when the conflict between Israelis and Palestinians has found a fair resolution. But great humor like that of Ghazi Albuliwi will certainly help this process, if only a little bit. But the sea is made of tiny drops!