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In this wild and heartfelt adventure epic, a 10-year-old Palestinian boy from the West Bank must travel to Tel Aviv to secure a companion for a distraught giraffe after an air strike kills its mate.
Ten-year old Ziad (Ahmad Bayatra) is so
smitten with the two giraffes in the Qalqilya
Zoo that he can communicate with them.
His father, Yacine (Saleh Bakri), a young
widower and the local veterinarian, understands
that the zoo, the only one in the
occupied West Bank, is a precious haven
for children to play and learn. He fights
every day with the corrupt local Palestinian
authorities to protect the park and secure a
modicum of care for the animals.
During an Israeli airstrike, a male giraffe
is killed. His female partner is so distraught
that she stops eating, until her survival is at
risk. There is only one place where Yacine
can find another male giraffe to remedy the
situation — Ramat Gan safari park in Israel.
The conceit that a garden where animals
are kept behind bars should become a place
for children to escape the harsh realities
of existence behind the Separation Wall
illustrates — marvellously and wittily — the
absurdity of life under occupation. Inspired
by a real story, and featuring a masterful,
exact performance by the stellar Bakri,
with remarkable support from Mohamad
Bakri and Roschdy Zem, Giraffada infuses
heartfelt drama with caustic irony.
In the midst of such cruel violence, Rani
Massalha's gracefully directed debut film
safeguards the earnestness of a young boy's
love for two giraffes. Who can resist the
charm of giraffes? Imagine the spectacle
of one crossing an impromptu gap in the
Separation Wall... Wild!
- Rani Massalha
- Rani Massalha was born in France to a Palestinian father and Egyptian mother. He studied at Boston College and the Paris Institute of Political Studies before going on to work for Misr International Films and assisting several directors, including Rachid Bouchareb. His short film Elvis of Nazareth (12) won the uniFrance Special Prize at Cannes. Giraffada (13) is his debut feature.