TIFF 2021: Our Review of ‘Huda’s Salon’

Posted in Festival Coverage, Movies, TIFF 2021, What's Streaming? by - September 09, 2021
TIFF 2021: Our Review of ‘Huda’s Salon’

Huda’s Salon spends some of its first act with one of the titular salon’s clients, Reem (Maisa Abd Elhadi), enduring light hearted jokes from her husband Yousef (Jalal Masarwa). It takes him enough time to notice that there’s something in her mind. The first place his mind goes to is that she’s cheating on him, but what he doesn’t know is that it’s much worse. After visiting the salon, Reem becomes a victim of a drugging from Huda, her hair stylist (Manal Awad).

Huda gives Reem an offer she can’t refuse. She tells the latter to spy on her fellow Palestinians and if not, she’ll release a photo of Reem in a compromising position. But before Reem can make a decision, a member of the Resistance, Hasan (Ali Suliman) kidnaps her. He obviously wants information from her, eventually leading him to her handler, Musa. A conventional interrogation would have been boring from Hasan. So what ensues is a conversation where they learn why each other ended up the way they did.

Fans of international cinema might already know the work of Ali Suliman, arguably one of the best actors living today. But it’s also an acting showcase for the two female leads, fleshing out truly interesting characters. It’s also a showcase for other cinematic elements like sound, changing in quality to reflect a people in perpetual surveillance. From the first scene to the last one it’s evident that this is one of Hany Abu-Assad’s audacious and most complex films.

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While Paolo Kagaoan is not taking long walks in shrubbed areas, he occasionally watch movies and write about them. His credentials are as follows: he has a double major in English and Art History. This means that, for example, he will gush at the art direction in the Amityville house and will want to live there, which is a terrible idea because that house has ghosts. Follow him @paolokagaoan on Instagram but not while you're working.
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