Seattle Jewish Film Festival

In its second week, SJFF offers many treats (see for full schedule and details). Our pick is Strangers (9:30 p.m. Sat. May 2 at MoHaI). Rana (Lubna Azabal) meets Eyal (Liron Levo) on the subway in Berlin, where both are visiting for the 2006 World Cups. They’re tourists who communicate haltingly and endearingly in English, their second (or third) language, meaning it’s a lot easier to kiss than speak. Strangers is nothing if not contrived in its set-up and ensuing culture clash (Rana turns out to be a Palestinian living in Paris), and it floods the background of this hasty, star-crossed romance with TV scenes of Israel’s invasion into Lebanon. Sounds overdetermined, but Strangers is so much better than that: The two leads are utterly charming as they gambol about Berlin (mostly improvising as they go), followed by Ram Shweky’s excellent hand-held HD camerawork that was clearly grabbed, guerilla-style during the actual World Cup. Strangers is all about immediacy, the present moment, no matter how much the politics of the past. If Strangers tells us anything, it’s that we should always act immediately for the sake of love. (NR) BRIAN MILLER

April 23-May 3, 2009

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