The Palestinian director Rashid Masharawi portrays the chaotic situation in the West bank in Laila’s Birthday by showing us the everyday tribulations of a judge who is forced to work as a taxi driver as his government doesn’t have the resources to pay his salary.
“After almost half a century of Israeli occupation, I preferred to focus on the results that this occupation has on our everyday life rather than analysing the conflict in itself,” the director pointed out. The film is also an ironic portrait of the absurdity of the situation on the West Bank which has only one cinema still open for a population of several million people. Actor Mohammed Bakri, who accompanied Masharawi at the press conference that he gave after Laila’s Birthday was screened yesterday in the Official Section, emphasised that the leading role in the film was one of the most complicated roles he had ever played. To establish his character he was inspired by a real-life judge he met from Ramallah who was sadly driven to drink and who died recently.