Movie Short Review: ‘Tala’vision’

Greetings again from the darkness. Tala is a young Arab girl whose love of soccer is mitigated by her father’s attempt to protect her from ISIS threats while she’s locked away in a war zone apartment. Despite Tala’s pleas, her father dumps their TV out the window and it smashes to bits in the street below. ISIS prohibits TVs, and he will do anything to keep his daughter safe – even if it means she can’t watch her hero Lionel Messi play games.

The film from writer-director Murad Abu Eisheh is a joint Germany-Jordan project and its 27 minute runtime captures the fears and stresses of those on the wrong side of power. Tala (Aesha Balasem) appears to be around 8 years old, and the cracks in the boarded up apartment window are her only view of the world once the TV is smashed. However, Tala is quite resourceful and that talent brings her momentary joy, while also endangering herself and her father.

In addition to his desperate attempts to keep Tala safe, her father must also deal with a neighbor’s similarly extreme desperation when it comes to his own son. Desperate times make for desperate men, and no time is more desperate when one fears for the life of a child. Director Eisheh creates a stress here that is palpable, and the ending will chill you to the core. The film has been shortlisted for this year’s Live Action Short Oscar.

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