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The Reports on Sarah and Saleem Movie Review

The Reports on Sarah and Saleem Review

By David Kempler

Reporting From the Frontlines

Bulletin: The Middle East can be a complicated place to live. Muayad Alayan’s “The Reports on Sarah and Saleem” is about an extra-marital affair and what happens as a result. If this happened in America or in many other countries, you know the possible ramifications. They are quite different in this story.

Sarah (Sivane Kretchner) is an Israeli café owner living in West Jerusalem with her husband David (Ishai Golan) and their young daughter. He is an army colonel who often draws assignments that entail the whole family moving with each assignment. Faced with moving again, Sarah is unhappy about giving up the café and uprooting the family.

Saleem (Adeeb Safadi) is a Palestinian who lives in East Jerusalem but works in the western part of the city. He delivers baked goods to retail businesses, including Sarah’s. He doesn’t make much money and his wife Bisan (Maisa Abd Elhadi) is pregnant, so he’s under a lot of pressure.


Sarah and Saleem have found a valve to open to help relieve their respective pressures. They meet whenever they can for quick, hot car sex. Then it’s back to their respective lives. Neither one is particularly unhappy in their marriage. They just use their quickies to keep on going. They like each other, but they both understand that their affair is more transactional than longing love.

To supplement his income, Saleem takes a second job offered to him by his brother-in-law. It’s not altogether safe because it involves him running goods unavailable in the occupied territories to Bethlehem. When he convinces Sarah to accompany him on one of these trips, it results in both of their lives unraveling.

Alayan does a nice job of juxtaposing the affair with the political realities of the area without lingering too hard on either area. The result is a demonstration of how hard it is to keep an affair private, especially when an external situation is omnipresent in everyone’s lives. You won’t leave the theater angry at any of the characters or sympathetic to all of them, but sadness pervades everything.

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