RAMALLAH, July 25 (JMCC) - Naira Antoun and Muhanad Yacubi review the
2008 film Salt of this Sea by Annemarie Jacir for the web magazine Jadaliyya
This critical reading takes a look at archetypes presented by the film: The Diaspora Palestinian, The PA Officials and Bureaucrats and other unsatisfying categories shown through the protagonist Soraya and her friends.
We watch Soraya’s efforts to identify, her drive both to reify her own story and to collapse it into a generic Palestinian story of which she can be a part. Soraya’s naiveté and self-absorption are unceasing: as she reminisces about pre-1948 Palestine, through her parents’ and grandparents’ stories, she seems to think she is the only one with a story. We learn so little about Emad, and she does not seem curious. Of course there is nothing wrong with the protagonist of a film being so naïve. But this naiveté is never undercut. Indeed, Emad could play the role of a sort of foil to Soraya, in terms both of his situation and his character, but he does not. If he did, we might have some real dialogue between people coming from different fragments of the splintered Palestinian body politic. Here we see that the crux is not that the characters are archetypes, but that the nature and content of those archetypes is problematic and undermines both the film’s promise and its objectives.