The Nasser Brothers’ Gaza Mon Amour competently catches the rhythms of the daily lives of two older shop keeps. The first is Siham (Hiam Abbass), a seamstress who has to deal with her unruly divorcee of a daughter Laila (Maisa Abd Elhadi).
The second is Issa Nasser (Salim Daw), who has feelings for Siham. And his life as a fisherman experiences a disruption when he catches a statue of Apollo, the latter having an erect penis.
The film aims to do a lot. The filmmakers have to give enough spotlight to Abbass, a great actress of world cinema now famous for playing Marcia in Succession. But it also highlights Daw, who brings his excellently comic physicality into a character who’s sitting on a big secret.
The statue, of course, plays a big part within Gaza Mon Amour‘s more comic tones. It’s a menacing yet hilarious presence, and the film does well in imbuing an ambivalent spirit in something that should be just an inanimate object.
Humans in real life assign emotional value both to objects and each other. This might be too obvious of a lesson for Gaza Mon Amour even if it’s true. The film shows this through scenes where Siham and Laila are gossip fodder.
But while some lessons feel didactic, others are more true. Here, individuals play a larger role in their society, and that’s true with objects as well. But despite of society lurking in, Issa and Siham still have to live their lives.