KOCHI: Film lovers can treat themselves to a number of good films in the latest edition of IFFK, on in the city till Friday. Among the few must-watch films is ‘Holy Air’, directed by the Israeli filmmaker Shady Srour. Speaking of a man who is unsure of his own ideologies, the film is a light-hearted and an engaging watch right from the beginning.
With the story revolving around a Christian Arab living in Nazareth, a place closely connected with Christianity, it is no surprise to find religion as the central plot. ‘Holy Air’ revolves around the struggles of Adam, played by writer-director Shady Srour himself. Struggling with the reality of his father’s terminal illess, Adam realises that his wife Lamia, a social worker and progressive woman, is pregnant. While the business venture he started out with his friend Mahmoud seems to wear him out, Adam quits the job and goes in search of a more fulfilling venture. When everything seems to be failing, the young man comes across a splendid idea, during one of his escapades in his car.
The narrative then takes a comic turn, with Adam climbing the slopes of Mount Precipice everyday, carrying a bag filled with bottles from his father’s workshop. Filling the bottles with holy air, he goes on to sell it to the pilgrims visiting the place for one euro per bottle.The film unfolds the predicament of a modern and progressive individual born in a country with a deep-rooted spiritual and religious background. The element of humour is used effectively to depict how even religion has become a platform for commercial gain.
If it was the quest of holy water that brought pilgrims to the place, Adam takes it one step forward by attempting to ‘market’ ‘uninfected holy air to the tourists. The blatant hypocrisy practised by religious leaders are also portrayed, for instance, a scene where a priest who brings pilgrims to a shopkeeper, exchanging money.
Another sequence of events have Adam approach the community of catholic priests, Jewish, Muslim and mafia leaders. Shady Srour is very convincing the feverishly determined Adam, who is at times caught in a conflict between ideologies. French-Lebanese actress Laetitia Eido plays the role of his wife while Tarek Copty plays his father George. Byan Anteer dons the role of Mahmoud. The 80-minute-long film is quite an engaging watch, with wit being the major element of appeal. A thought-provoking film, ‘Holy Air’ puts it across in a light-hearted way.