Brisbane Asia Pacfic Film Festival, The Idol – A Startling Story of Hope & Humanity
Words by Rachel Trevarthen
It’s common to tear up in films now and again and feel temporarily moved by their message. Yet, crying for nearly an entire film and being left speechless for another hour after that is not so commonplace.
This was the effect of The Idol, screening last night at the opening of the Brisbane Asia Pacific Film Festival (BAPFF).
It wasn’t necessarily tears of sadness that the movie drew, for ultimately this is a film about hope and how just a sliver is enough to keep us sane in times when nothing else remains.
The movie was a masterpiece of the human condition, beautifully portraying the irrepressible drive of the human spirit to overcome adversity and the ability of love to triumph over hate.
The Idol tells the story of Mohammed Assaf, a young man who became the first Palestinian to win ‘Arab Idol’. His story is remarkable not just because of the victory itself but the incredible strength and gentle beauty portrayed by him, his family and his country.
The first half of the film is told by the child Mohammed, who runs freely and unapologetically around the streets of Gaza with his sister Nour, determined that they will become big and change the world through music.
As loss and tragedy strike, the viewer cannot help but be drawn in to the poignant web of love, hope and sad determination that is Mohammed trying to rise above the restrictions enforced upon Gaza.
Directed by renowned Palestinian filmmaker Hany Abu-Assad, The Idol offers a glimpse into the rarely seen side of Palestinian life and its people, one that is funny, quirky, indelibly hopeful and resilient.
The BAPFF 2015 features an international cultural program with 102 films from 42 countries and areas screening over 11 days from the 19 to 29 November.
It offers a pleasing departure from the usual film palate on offer, rich in multicultural diversity and including a mix of feature films, shorts and virtual reality works.
If the gala opening of The Idol is anything to gauge by, expect nothing short of startling entertainment and a poignant emotional ride from this year’s BAPFF.
The full program and tickets, including special presentation and gala events are on sale now click here.