Henrika Kuli, Germany
This debut film by female director Henrika Kuli unveils the life of a divorced Arab woman in Germany. Opening with the marriage of a friend, Maryam (Susana Abdulmajid), mother of three, sees Jibril (Malik Adan) for the first time. At the wedding we see her friend wrapped up while she displays her long beautiful hair, a symbol of a free independent woman. Her friends and family are often on the sidelines giving her advice, especially not to act too impulsively. After all, look what happened with her ex-husband. She waves off the remarks since she is taking good care of her children and has a job.
Then we meet the character, Jibril, He happened to be on prison release just for the wedding. He is a small-time criminal with no ambition and no discipline. So what could Maryam see in him? At some point she is asked to deliver a package to him and that is when the Pandora box opens. Both are attracted to each other and through phone calls, letters and visitation hours, the two move from reality to fantasy despite having completely different lives, responsibilities, and future ideas. The film uses television romances and mobile phone conversations to accentuate the chosen but unrealistic path that Maryam is taking. The film covers the seasons of the year, has a home movie feel and uses both German and Arabic in the storytelling. It is interesting that the name Jibril means Gabriel and in the Islam tradition is also an archangel. He is one of the most important figures in the Quran who spreads the word of Allah. Is Maryam’s path a fairy tale, or is it a path that will lead her to her the right place in society or does it give her a chance to be married but retain her independence? The only thing that is certain is that Jibril will be unreachable for some time.