This Week in New York Insider's Guide to Arts & Culture in New York City Since 2001

23Apr/17

TRIBECA FILM FESTIVAL INTERNATIONAL NARRATIVE COMPETITION: HOLY AIR

HOLY AIR

Shady Srour wrote, directed, and stars in HOLY AIR

HOLY AIR (Shady Srour, 2017)
Friday, April 28, Regal Cinemas Battery Park 11, 6:15
Sunday, April 30, Regal Cinemas Battery Park 13, 2:45
www.facebook.com/holyairfilm
tribecafilm.com

The opening scene of Shady Srour’s Holy Air, making its world premiere at the Tribeca Film Festival, is utterly charming, as married couple Adam (Srour), a businessman, and Lamia (Laëtitia Eïdo), the head of the Sexuality Center, are stuck in ridiculously heavy traffic. Lamia decides to use the extra time to take a pregnancy test, urinating right there in the car. That is shortly followed by one of the film’s most splendid images, of Adam in the bathtub, his heavily bearded face above the back edge, a glass of alcohol at the ready as the camera stays still. Unfortunately, the film is shaky the rest of the way, too repetitive and fussy with subplots that don’t feel natural. Whereas Lamia is pregnant, Adam’s father is a tough old guy, fighting cancer. Adam’s partnership with his friend Mahmoud isn’t going well, so, soon after encountering a priest singing the holy praises of Mount Precipice, Adam decides to bottle the air on the mountain and sell it as a tourist souvenir. The film takes on the Christian faith, capitalism, road rage, local gangsters, and growing old, but it works best when it focuses on Adam and Lamia together; just about everything else is overly sentimental, too goofy, or just plain nonsensical, which is too bad, because Srour (Sense of Need) and Lamia (Cleopatra in The Destiny of Rome) make for a lovable couple, caught up in the travails of modern-day Nazareth.

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