When the guy doing the pre-show intro of a festival flick precedes the screening by warning the audience that the ending "should come with Prozac", you know you're not in for an uplifting 90 or so minutes. Actually, I had read the program description of Passion, which was having its North American premiere here in Seattle in the closing days of the Seattle Arab and Iranian Film Festival (an event, by the way, that was so packed with good films, I'm going to have to clear more room off my calendar for it next year), and I knew the topic was honor killings, so I figured going in it wasn't going to have a cheery ending. What I didn't know going in was that the film's director, Mohamed Malas, had to shoot his film in Paris, because the Syrian government wouldn't let him shoot there. The film has been banned in Syria as well, so it won't be seen there, either. Writer-director Malas was inspired to write the film after reading a snippet in a Syrian paper about a woman who was slain by her uncle, two cousins and two brothers in an "honor killing" because she had developed a passion for the songs of Egyptian singer Oum Kalsoum.

categories Reviews, Cinematical