The Present is a 25-minute film promising a simple, sweet plot. A family wakes up to a new day. Yusef (Saleh Bakri) and Noor (Mariam Kamel Basha) are celebrating their wedding anniversary. Yusef takes the whole day off from work in order to take their young daughter, Yasmine (Maryam Kanj) shopping for the perfect gift. Yet, shopping is anything but simple and sweet for this family living in the Israeli-occupied West Bank. Yusef and Maryam need to cross through multiple Israeli checkpoints along designated pathways for their shopping trip. There is relief when they finally arrive in Beitunia and buy the present. And now they just want to get back home.
Director Farah Nabulsi gives us one day in this family’s life, leaving us relieved as this one day comes to an end. In this film, less is much more.
The title also references the present or current reality for Palestinians, one of increasing oppression, segregation, and further encroachment by Israelis into Palestinian territory.
In Arabic with English subtitles, the film is rated ‘Parental Guidance,’ given the frightening interactions the daughter experiences as she travels with her father. However, it is an excellent film for viewing with mature children and older. The Present was nominated for a 2020 Oscar in the live-action short film category. (Netflix)