Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Dolphin Boy

After vicious torture and beating by relatives of a girl he was accused of seducing, Morad sinks into a closed world of his own.  At the start of Dolphin Boy, we see Morad in a catatonic state, unable to speak or even make eye contact.  His father is determined - and makes huge sacrifices - to do whatever it takes to heal his son.  

On a doctor's advice Morad's father takes him to Dolphin Reef on the Red Sea.  The reef is staffed with people who use dolphin therapy to reach the unreachable.  Morad's first contact with any living thing is with the dolphins, and over a period of three years, he reenters the world, strong enough to relive and face the terrors of the night of his kidnapping.

Underlying the surface story, just as the dolphins swim under the Red Sea, is a story of co-operation between Palestinians and Israelis.  Because Morad is Palestinian and the doctor and workers at Dolphin Reef are Israeli.  The dialogue in the film shifts back and forth between Arabic and Hebrew.  While Morad is at the reef, he speaks Hebrew and only as his healing is complete is he willing to revert back to Arabic.  The message is never highlighted in the film, but in the Q&A, the filmmakers clearly stated that one of their goals was to show some good news from the region.

This was a lovely Hot Docs movie and I recommend it.

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