Despite being part of a young generation of Palestinian Arabs whose families chose to stay and challenge the Israeli state after Al-Nakba, 17-year-old Tamer and his friends are just like any other group of teenage boys. They clumsily search for drugs, flirt with girls, play video games, and slack off at school. However, when a beautiful new student named Maysaa’ joins their class Tamer immediately falls for her and, by association, is drawn into her political activism. Together they join fellow classmate, Safwat, in an operation to covertly raise the Palestinian flag and peacefully disrupt the local celebrations planned for Israel’s Independence Day – otherwise known to Palestinians as a day of mourning and memorialization for their displacement 70 years prior. Unsure of his own political convictions, Tamer must quickly determine what matters to him and what price he is willing to pay for freedom.
A skillful examination of the fraught political awakening young Palestinians are forced to undergo, this TIFF World premiere “perfectly captures teenage fearlessness and bravado along with a certain cluelessness about how the real-world works” (Variety). An striking debut feature film from Firas Khoury, ALAM marries conversations around nationalism and iconography with the universal themes of growing up.