Laila’s Birthday-

Laila’s birthday a Palastinian movie directed by Rashid Masharawi was the Inaugural film of IFFK-08.

With several good movies screening simultaneously in the film festival, we were literally spoilt for choice. Though it was the Inaugural film, I chose not to watch Lailas birthday. Just because description in brochures said it as the portrayal of the struggle of Palestinian people in the conflict laden strip. I expected it to be janother film that has the pain, sorrow, killings,  hovering of fighter jets spraying the bombs etc.

But somehow made it for the second screening with half mind. and I was in for a surprise.

Laila’s birthday is a powerful movie that has conveys the uncertainty in the lives of Palestinian people but in a different way, the hard realities, the struggle for existence everything gets portrayed in the film, but laced with humor. Humor that is strikingly silent and thought provoking.

Film Chronicles a day in the life of Abu Laila who was a judge earlier, but now is forced to drive a taxi for his living in Palastine. The day chosen for the film is his daughter Laila’s birthday. His wife asks him to come home well in time, with a cake, for birthday celebrations. The story is about his efforts to reach home in time and the hurdles the daily life in Palestine has for him.

Abu laila though is a taxi driver now, cannot come out of the law abiding and law enforcing mindset of his earlier profession. All along the film he tries not to break the rules as well as not to allow others to break it, especially his passengers. His efforts go vein in a state where evading law itself is an art.

In his efforts to reach home in time, he goes through a series of incidents from losing his cab to birthday cake for the daughter. Film clearly depicts the life of ordinary people in Palestine who are forced to live in extra ordinary circumstances every day. Who ever may be the mistake and what ever may be the political rights of the rivelling countries of South east, the way common people cops in Palastine amidst of the conflicts is laudable. Lailas birthday upholds the faith of those ordinary people.

.The beauty lies in the fact that Laila’s Birthday, unlike other films on the Palestine struggle depicts hope and inspiration, even in the face of a troublesome future. The film makes you think while silently penetrating your conscious. In Rashid Mashrawi’s own words “Despite all the differences we have, we have to give hope and thought to the future, and this is Laila’s Birthday” 

The Acting of Bakri as Abu Laila is powerful, excellent, natural and is an art in itself. The direction, script and videography too are very good.



Directed by:

Rashid Masharawi

Written by:

Rashid Masharawi


Mohamed Bakri, Areen Omari, Nour Zoubi





Running time:



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