directed by Rashin Masharawi
Bursting with mordant wit and alive with urgent real-life dramatic energy, Rashid Masharawi s Laila’s Birthday is a (fleet, dark urban comedy – New York Times) that (moves at a brisk clip, ticking incidents like a meter on overtime – Time Out New York). At eight o clock, its Laila’s birthday, okay? Palestinian judge turned cab driver Abu Laila s wife reminds her husband. But on his young daughter s birthday, like any day, Abu faces a nerve-wracking shift in a Ramallah yellow cab armed only with an ex-jurist s misplaced pride, a father s loyalty, and a sticker reminding passengers that smoking and carrying AK-47 s are prohibited. Rather than address politics or document holy war heroics and villainy, Laila s Birthday focuses on the toll that the unending Israeli-Palestinian conflict extracts from civilians clinging to both employment and a semblance of normal life amidst chaos and corruption, missile attacks and bursts of gunfire. (Part Tati, part Chaplin, part absurdist satire – Village Voice), Laila’s Birthday finds surprising humor and remarkable humanity in the fares Abu plucks from the social freefall of a city upended by war, and in the unyielding and often misplaced belief in the rule of law to which its unlikely hero clings en route to a hoped-for family reunion.