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Mediterranean Fever film image, director Maha Haj

Mediterranean Fever

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North American Premiere

Waleed (Amer Hlehel), a cynical 40-year-old Palestinian Arab living in Haifa, struggles with chronic depression and writer’s block. Two years in therapy have felt like a waste of his wife’s money, and tensions in his marriage are on the rise. His half-hearted attempts at finding a quiet reprieve in novel writing are frustrated by the arrival of his cocky new neighbour Jalal (Ashraf Farah), a handyman and low-level criminal who likes blasting pop music at top volume.

Waleed’s initial annoyance with him soon morphs into fascination when he learns that Jalal is deeply indebted to some dangerous men. He starts tagging along for Jalal’s shake-downs, ostensibly as research for his crime novel. Their complicated new friendship takes a darker and more dangerous turn when Waleed’s ulterior motives come to light. Compelling and psychologically nuanced, Maha Haj’s dramatic black comedy casts a wry and affecting look at class struggle, masculine pride, and mental illness.

Best Screenplay, Cannes (Un Certain Regard) 2022


Community Partner


Amer Hlehel, Ashraf Farah, Anat Hadid, Samir Elias, Cynthia Saleem, Shaden Kanboura

Country of Origin





In Arabic with English subtitles

Film Contact
Content Warning

Self Harm

108 min
Award Winners Comedy Drama Women Directors

Book Tickets

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Maha Haj headshot, Mediterranean Fever director

Maha Haj

Maha Haj graduated from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem in English and Arabic literature. She wrote and directed the short film Oranges (2009) and the documentary Behind These Walls (2010). In 2015, she shot her first feature film Personal Affairs, which was selected for the 2016 Cannes Film Festival’s Un Certain Regard category. The film also won the Haifa Film Festival’s Best Feature Award in 2016 and the International Mediterranean Film Festival Montpellier of Mediterranean Cinema (Cinémed) Critics’ Award, among others.

Filmography: Behind These Walls (2010); Personal Affairs (2016)