(director/writer: Alain Zaloum; screenwriters: story by Kari Bian/Patrick Krauss/Randala; cinematographer: Neil Lisk; editors: Richard Francis-Bruce/ Kimberly Generous White; music: Michael J. Lloyd; cast: Cameron Van Hoy (David Isaac), Danielle Duval (Fatima Aziz), Anthony Batarse (Ishmael Aziz), Yareli Arizmendi (Aiida Aziz), Allan Kolman (Benny Isaac), Martin Landau (Rabbi Schmulic), Tony Curtis (Mr. Schwartz); Runtime: 120; MPAA Rating: R; producer: Tavia Dautartas; Karim Movies; 2023)

“It’s a thought-provoking film that loses authenticity by casting so many Americans in key roles.”

Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz

A retelling of William Shakespeare’s Romeo & Juliet, directed by the Cairo-born Copt, Canadian living, Alain Zaloum (“Promise Her Anything”/”Canvas”), from a story by the Iranian-American Kari Bian. It’s co-written by Zaloum, Randala and Patrick Krauss as a forbidden love story because of religion.

The film was shot mostly in Los Angeles.
This was the last film the 85-year-old Tony Curtis made, whereby he had a minor p

art. He was born as Bernard Schwartz, the impoverished son of a Manhattan tailor, who took the name Tony Curtis as an actor and had a long illustrious acting career (and had six marriages).

The narrative is set in modern-day Jerusalem. David (Cameron Van Hoy) is an Israeli Jew in love with the beautiful Fatima (Danielle Pollack, a Jewish American actress), who is a Palestine Muslim. Because both groups are foes, her father does not allow her to date the Jewish boy.

The couple scheme to elope outside of Jerusalem. They get an anguished once radical rabbi (Martin Landau) to marry them, but he can’t legally officiate a marriage between a Jew and a Muslim.

Their love seems in earnest, as does the bigotry of their families.

The third act is the most emotional, as the ongoing conflict in the Middle East offers no easy peaceful solutions.

The filmmaker advocates for peace between the warring parties.

It’s a thought-provoking film that loses authenticity by casting so many Americans in key roles.