Laila’s Birthday. 2008. Palestine/Tunisia/Netherlands. Written and directed by Rashid Masharawi. Image courtesy of Kino International

Rashid Masharawi (b. 1962, Gaza), known to MoMA audiences for his 2003 New Directors/New Films debut, Ticket to Jerusalem, returns with his most recent feature, Laila’s Birthday. Set in the filmmaker’s chaotic current hometown of Ramallah, the film follows a Palestinian judge turned taxi driver as he navigates the corruption, hassles, constantly changing political winds, and pervasive Israeli checkpoints in and around the city. Trying to arrange a birthday cake and gift for his young daughter’s birthday turns out to be an epic task. Masharawi provides a lively and revealing portrait of both a city and decent man at the breaking point.

Organized by Laurence Kardish, Senior Curator, Department of Film.

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