American Promise shines at New York Film Festival

DWIGHT B Rown | 10/14/2013, 11:32 a.m.
As the New York Film Festival kicked off its 51st year, African heritage films were few and far between, but ...
A scene from American Promise. NNPA

Omar (*1/2)

The plight of Palestinians remains an enigma to most Americans, hence the importance of this film. Omar (Adam Bakari) climbs the Israeli-Palestinian Separation Wall that divides the West Bank to visit friends and court his sweetheart Nadia (Leem Loubany). After being abused by Israeli soldiers, he seeks revenge. Retribution comes with complications, a prison sentence and physical torture. A menacing Israeli agent (Waleed Suaiter) coerces Omar into becoming an informer. A very crafty script and spot-on direction by Hany Abu-Assad leads you down wrong paths to a climax you couldn’t fathom. Along the way you discover the power of secrets and deception. Smart. Enlightening. Always engaging.

The Square ()

A group of Egyptian activists, based in Cairo’s Tahrir Square, battle tyrannical regimes in a quest to find democracy and a voice. This immersive documentary takes you inside a revolution that seems to yield upsets but no winners. Egyptian dictatorships, fought and gone. Military rule, fought and gone. Elected Muslim Brotherhood leadership, fought and gone. Still no peace, no justice. Director Jehane Noujaim takes you to the battlefield; you witness police gunfire and killings. You smell the tear gas. You sense the urgency. The jubilant wins and monstrous defeats run in vicious cycles. One of the most searing documentaries ever made.

Films from the New York Film Festival don’t always receive a wide release, like 12 Years a Slave. However, with some digging and research you can find the NYFF movies you want to see in local theaters or on VOD. In the case of American Promise, your search will be well worth the effort.