A comedy about the Arab-Israeli conflict? There are few filmmakers willing to take on such a risky project, but in Tel Aviv on Fire Sameh Zoabi proves it is still possible to find something to laugh about. Starting from a made-up romantic series about a female spy who marries an Arab man in 1967, but also has to engage with a member of the Israeli military. As the viewers don’t yet know who the woman will finally choose, the programme becomes hugely popular on both sides of the wall.
Salem works as a production assistant on the set and therefore has to pass a very strict border official every day. When he demands that the Israeli soldier be given a more positive role, Salem feverishly tries to influence the narrative of the TV series, as it becomes increasingly clear how futile this is. In this way, Zoabi is able to tackle a painful truth, zooming in on this decades-long conflict with the light touch of a compelling soap opera.