Writer-director Annemarie Jacir’s multi-award winning comic drama explores the lives of Palestinians living in Israel, and stars real-life father and son Mohammad and Saleh Bakri. The title of Wajib translates as ‘duty’, and it’s duty that brings architect Shadi (Saleh Bakri) from Rome back to Nazareth, where his sister Amal (Maria Zriek) is to be married. Local tradition dictates that Shadi and his divorced dad, Abu Shadi (Mohammad Bakri), must drive around town delivering wedding invitations. Friction is in the air even before the duo clamber into Abu Shadi’s beloved and beaten-up old Volvo. Shadi thinks the exercise is outdated and meaningless. For his father, it’s about maintaining important community rituals. Bakri and son Saleh are terrific and earthily funny as the bickering duo who meet colourful characters on their cross-city travels. A Palestinian born in Bethlehem, raised in Saudi Arabia and educated in New York, Annemarie Jacir (Salt of this Sea, 2008; When I Saw You, 2012) brings a worldly, wise and witty eye to this hugely entertaining and illuminating slice of Palestinian life.
Wajib gives an unfussily illuminating snapshot of modern-day Nazareth, where a majority Arab population – most seen here are Christian – has found ways to get along under the fiddly, capricious restrictions of the Israeli state. – Neil Young, The Hollywood Reporter
An intimate, well-played disquisition on what it means to be a Palestinian abroad versus a Palestinian at home. – Jay Weissberg, Varietyi
Annemarie Jacir is a Palestinian filmmaker and poet. Like Twenty Impossibles (2003) was the first Arab short film to be part of the official selection at Cannes. Salt of This Sea (2008) won Jacir Best Scriptwriter at the Dubai International Film Festival, and Wajib was awarded Best Feature there in 2017.