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MOVIE REVIEW

Love crosses a divide in the Mideast

June 30, 2008|Gary Goldstein

If you've seen any of a hundred movies about star-crossed lovers, the fate awaiting the titular teens in "David & Fatima" can be predicted from the start. Still, this journey of David (Cameron Van Hoy), an idealistic Israeli Jew who falls for the gentle Fatima (Danielle Pollack), a Palestinian Muslim, is an earnest, reasonably absorbing drama, particularly in its first half.

In Alain Zaloum's movie, a chance meeting leads to a forbidden romance in which the pair eventually flee Jerusalem -- and their apoplectic families -- to elope, though no one in Israel, not even a once-radical rabbi (Martin Landau), can legally perform an intermarriage. They manage a makeshift honeymoon night anyway, but it's downhill from there.

Unfortunately, the picture shot in Israel and L.A. loses impact by casting Americans in virtually every key role. This decision lends the film a somewhat ersatz quality, resulting in a jumble of imprecise accents that makes one long for native speech and English subtitles.

-- Gary Goldstein

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"David & Fatima." MPAA rating: Unrated. Running time: 2 hours. At Laemmle's Monica 4-Plex, 1332 2nd St., Santa Monica, (310) 394-9741.

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