“Love During Wartime” is a political “Romeo and Juliet” story for millennials. It’s a documentary from the Sweden and Israel, and director Gabrielle Bier. This is about two young artists, Jasmin, an Israeli Jew, and Osama, a Muslim Palestinian who have to fight against their home states in order to keep their love.
Osama’s nickname is Assi. He and Jasmin fall for each other around 2007 and want to make it official, against the odds – generations worth of political angst. She is a working ballet dancer, and former soldier. He is a visual artist. Neither of their home countries can comprehend interfaith love.
This was shown during the 30th Minneapolis St. Paul International Film Festival.
The byzantine bureaucracy of each war-weary and wary country treads a paranoid path that reaches Kafkaesque levels of absurdity. This tense love story is very talky with meager action: the lovers either talk or argue with each other. Or Jasmin argues with or confides in her German parents about warring states and the stakes, or Assi does likewise with his friends. Assi and Jasmin struggle, loving and living separately for several months while waiting for either Israel or Palestine to treat them as people in love instead of wartime talking points.
Each of them visits the other under temporary permits. One time is in Germany: Jasmin wants him there so they may marry and he may become a citizen because she already is. And then he may start working. Just then he holds a student visa, lives off of her, and aches to work.
To some extent “Love During Wartime” resembles Richard Linklater’s “Before Sunrise,” from 1995. Except that the levels of political and social angst leech the fun from Assi and Jasmin’s love. Those tensions lift their romantic stakes, and the drama, above the banal ones that were involved in “Before Sunrise.”
This documentary is interesting and worth watching, although maybe it’s only “fun” for those viewers who really dig this.