The Syrian Bride

The Syrian bride turned out to be a fairly interesting story about a young Druze woman whose family, although they live in Israel, still considers themselves Syrian. The film while on the surface seems to be about Mona and her impending marriage also comes across as a dig at how ridiculous the tension between many Arab countries and Israel can be. Although I don?t know very much about the various marriage customs of that society except that arranged marriage is not at all uncommon. The bit of research I did about Druze culture and Syrians in the Israeli occupied Golan Heights after viewing this film, did explain or rather give background to several issues presented.
The two main issues that I did not originally understand after watching this movie were the way that the father was banned from certain areas and also how he seemed to renounce his son Hattem. As I later found out Druze culture is a very ethnocentric one, they do not support marriage to people who are not one of their own. That was why the village/ town elders wanted an assurance that he would not recognize his son and daughter in law when they came back to live in the area. The other part of it that I wasn?t clear on was why the authorities wouldn?t let him come to the border. I knew he had been to jail for his support of something and had only recently gotten out but what I didn?t know was what he had done to be imprisoned in the first place. I?m still not sure what the actual crime was or if he really had done something but I do get that it had more to do with the fact that he supported the reunification of the Israeli occupied areas with Syria.
I think the movie turned out to be a fair representation of the current tensions that abound between Israel and Syria. I also thought it was an amusing take on how superfluous bureaucracy can be. Even just watching I thought it ridiculous and frustrating how many times that woman had to walk across the border only for it to turn out useless in the end. Mona and her fianc? probably had to bribe the Syrian border to let her pass, or she might have snuck across when no one was looking again. The family interactions were also very typical of male oriented societies. While the women controlled a great deal of what went on nothing was really resolved until the father gave the ok.
The funniest part of the film was predictably the part I had the most understanding of. The middle-eastern countries do not formally recognize Israel as legitimate, and therefore considers all areas occupied by Israelis to be still under the dominion of whoever controlled it before. The part of the movie where they couldn?t accept the stamp because, by their standards, it meant she would be entering the same country she was leaving is the result of political squabbling. Israel won?t back down because they want to be recognized as a true part of the world and Syria doesn?t want to give in to who they view as foreign invaders. So as a result they end up using the everyday people as pieces in some ridiculous chess match. Overall I thought it was a good movie and like another I saw just recently, Persepolis, gives us a peek into a culture most of us wouldn?t have otherwise received.