I thought of the name of the film, “Oversized Coat”. “It is unfamiliar but an interesting, good choice”, I whispered to myself.
Enthusiastically, I went to watch the film that talks about the issue of my homeland. On my way, I imagined the scenes that will be covered by this film, including the vandalism, killing, demolition, destruction and other tragedies practiced by the Israelis against the Palestinian people.
I went in excited, hoping it expresses the Palestinian experience and I came out very grateful because it shows us as human beings above anything else.
The Story In Brief
The film stands in the period from 1987 until our current day, during which the first and second Intifadas and Oslo Accords took place. The director of the film, Nawras Abu Saleh, talks about the Palestinian cause through the life of a Palestinian young man. He returns to Palestine with his parents when he is a child and grows up there. Like any Palestinian young child, he does not realise the true meaning of the word “occupation”, but he is aware that this word refers to an enemy.
The love of the homeland and hatred of the occupation grows day by day in his heart, which appears in many attitudes. Most notably, he makes the flag of Palestine using old clothes, at a time when having the flag of Palestine in someone’s home is considered a strong enough justification for Israelis to demolish it. He joins the university to study engineering, then turns to media because he feels that media is a significant weapon to resist the occupation. He and his friend make several films that describe the oppression and despotism that Palestinians face in their daily life.
Some of these scenes depict the Israeli settlements and the occupied territories, other scenes depict the suffering at the checkpoints, in addition to other scenes and incidents that have taken place in the past and are still happening in present day Palestine. After these scenes, the protagonist is is arrested by the Israeli soldiers, and when he is released, his father expels him to Jordan. It is worth mentioning that his father serves his homeland as a doctor by treating wounded people, but later in life he chooses his family’s interests as a priority. That is why he forces his son to travel to Jordan where he pursue his film career.
A Mirror to Reality
In my opinion, the director of the film is realistic and his production is fantastic! He shows the Palestinian people as they really are. In the myriad of characters there is a Palestinian resistor who sacrifices his life for serving his homeland, there is the spy who betrays his homeland, and the one who despairs of liberation and follows his interests. All of these characters are real according to my daily life experiences.
The scenes of killing, vandalism and destruction were very few in the film, even though they are realities that Palestinians have faced for years, and still are facing. This may reflect the director’s intentions of presenting us with another side to our realities. He wants other people to see the ambitious, dreaming Palestinian who decides, despite the dark reality he faces, to follow his dreams, resists for them and risking himself in the process. He wants others to see the Palestinian as human beings, before anything else!
One of the most important ideas in the film is the very important role of the cinema and filmmaking in expressing the real face of Palestinian life. In the film, the hero considers drama as a weapon to resist occupation because it talks to the world in one language: humanity. That is why the Israelis consider the protagonist as a real danger.
The film has a very deliberate open ending. This in itself, reflects the reality that any Palestinian person, whoever tries to serve his or her cause in any way, is considered by Israel as a terrorist. So it is a pretext for Israel to treat him badly. Also, this type of ending is a message to the Palestinian people: that they can follow their dreams regardless of the challenges they may face.
I came out and still thinking about the title, why did the director choose it? After doing some research, I found that the title is built on an old Palestinian saying: “When a sleeper dreams of wearing a coat that is larger than his size, it means that he will bear responsibility beyond his ability.” From the title, we learn another lesson.
Mays Jabari is a 23 year old Palestinian living in Hebron. She has a BA in English Language and Literature and French. Having an educational background she has a passion for creative writing, reading and debating.