ASSALHIYA: Frozen in place in changing times

Thu Mar 21,2013

The film ASSALHIYA opens with a panoramic snapshot of Kuwait city's streets and buildings, with the camera stopping at a specific building where the word ‘Assalhiya’ is written.

Jaber plays Jassim, who is depressed because he will have to leave the office he has spent all his life working in.

The cause is left a mystery and the audience only gets to know about Jassim through the flashbacks that are screened. Firstly, the focus is turned to a young Jassim out on a rainy night – the very same night that his wife Munira is undergoing a painful childbirth.

Jassim is unable to save his wife as he tried to make his way to the hospital, which is in the suburb of ‘Assalhiya’. After her death, Jassim continues to stay in the same suburb, only so he can be close to his wife’s grave. The audience can deduce his emotional state through his monologue, through which it is revealed that it has been 40 years since her death, but he has not forgotten her, nor has he stopped feeling guilty for not saving her.

Interestingly enough, it is the rain that holds the film together. When Jassim returns to the grave of his wife, it is raining heavily again. The movie sheds light on how, despite the changes that Assalhiya has witnessed over time, Jassim is still stuck in his painful past, never changing.

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