For most of Muayad Ayalan’s first full-length feature film, love takes a back seat to theft and other entanglements as the protagonist Mousa (Sami Metwasi) spends his time determining what it means to be a real man under the Israeli occupation. Mousa is a Peter Pan–like figure who cannot seem to face reality and grow up, and the dark comedy centers on his bumbling escapades as he tries his hand at carjacking, displaying various role models of Palestinian manhood. Shot on location, the black-and-white film alternates between Jerusalem, Beit Safafa, Sharafat, Bethlehem, Beit Jala, Beit Sohour, and Khadour, as well as the Dheisheh and Aida refugee camps.

Mousa’s father (Hussein Nakhleh) epitomizes the steady, reliable, hardworking man who has endured such hardships as life in a refugee camp and is grateful to have a permit that allows him...

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