Private review

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Nothing's private in this riveting dispatch from the frontlines of the Arab/Israeli conflict in which the Israeli army invades a Palestinian family's home. Forced to choose between mute acceptance or refugee status, patriarch Mohammad (Mohammad Bakri) embarks on a campaign of passive resistance and puts his political principles before his family's safety. The pressure cooker atmosphere and claustrophobic camera angles suggest something's gotta give and, as the soldiers invade every aspect of the family's private lives, this low-key drama unspools as a terrifying nightmare. Shot in Italy to get Palestinian and Israeli actors on-screen together for the first time since the second Intifada, it's an intense and powerful indictment of military occupation. As the soldiers threaten executions and Mohammad's teenage son dreams of a martyr's death, Private knows only too well that the cycle of violence and retribution isn't easily broken.

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