I always encourage festival goers to see movies like these, great non-American movies that they will not have the chance to see elsewhere rather than the Oscar-bait movies that while worthwhile, will be widely released not long after the festival ends.
God’s Slave is inspired by a true story, a 1994 suicide bombing targeting Jews in Buenos Aires, Argentina.
It’s sad, if not tragic, that at this time we are more familiar with the aspects of suicide bombings than we were twenty years ago. and that few remembered that occurred in South America.
The actual event occurred on July 18, 1994 and is referred to as the AMIA bombing, the target was the Argentine Israelite Mutual Association building. It remains the deadliest terrorist attack in Argentine history; eighty-five people were killed.
The movie centers around the character of Ahmed Al Hassamah (Mohammed Alkhadi), an Arab from Lebanon who having witnessed his parents’ murders as a (gorgeous) dedicates his life to jihad.
He has a life created for him, CIA-style, in Caracas, Venezuela as a surgeon. He marries and has a son, but he is “on call,” as it were, to abandon all once he is summoned for his mission.
That call comes, and he is ensconced in a cell, in the figurative and literal sense, with other jihadis under the supervision of Tarik (Laureano Olivares) who decides whose turn is next.
Ahmed comforts his fellow jihadi Hamzah (Ayman Samman) who begins to doubt the promise of paradise as his turn approaches.
On his trail is David Goldberg (Vando Villamil), a superior officer in the Mossad in Argentina. He too is motivated by vengeance; when he was young his older brother was killed before his eyes in a terrorist attack.
David is stymied by his boss who thinks David’s emotions have interfered with his judgment. Both men are in a race against time and each other.
God’s Slave is prejudiced, but so am I. But who wants to see a political thriller without a point of view? Don’t take this to mean the movie is predictable, it’s not. It’s a thriller in the true sense: there is no smug dialogue, there are no heroes, and no sense of satisfaction at the end- other than that of having been truly entertained.
Venezuela, 2013, 80 min., Spanish & Arabic with English subtitles
Tuesday, November 18th at 4:15pm & Friday, November 21st at 4:45pm at Plaza Frontenac