Mano Khalil | Drama | Switzerland, 2021 | Kurdish, Hebrew, Arabic, Turkish w/English subtitles | 124m | PG

In-Person Screening: Saturday, April 2 | 6:10 pm | SJCC
Virtual Screening: Monday, March 28 – Sunday, April 10

Film: When tragedy strikes, the last Jewish family living in a Kurdish village on the Syrian/Turkish border in the early 1980s, must turn to their neighbors, six-year-old Sero’s Kurdish family for help.

Guest Zoom Conversation: Kurdish-Swiss director Mano Khalil joins us live via Zoom from Switzerland to discuss this cinematically stunning story of Kurdish-Jewish resilience and refugees on the Syrian/Turkish border. Conversation will take place following the film as part of the Q&A. Conversation will be recorded and made available on SJCC’s Arts + Ideas YouTube channel  >>. More details >>

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Full Film Details:
Growing up in a small Kurdish village in northeastern Syria in the early ‘80s, six-year-old Sero (expressive newcomer Serhed Khalil) lives happily with his father, mother, and baby sister and enjoys pranking the border guards with his friends and uncle. As Sero enters the first grade, a new schoolteacher arrives from Damascus determined to instill Ba’ath Party Arab nationalism and suppress any feelings of Kurdish cultural identity in his students. Meanwhile, Sero and his uncle act as the Sabbath goyim for their beloved Jewish next-door neighbors, an old couple and their unmarried daughter, Hannah. She, in turn, has feelings for Sero’s uncle. Against growing state-sponsored antisemitism, the situation becomes increasingly precarious for the Jewish family. Yet, as Jews, they have been stripped of their Syrian citizenship and cannot leave the country. When a Turkish border guard accidentally shoots Sero’s mother, the neighbors turn to Sero’s father to help Hannah flee using the dead wife’s papers. With a balance of humor and satire, NEIGHBOURS depicts a childhood under dictatorship that manages to find light moments amid dark drama.

Director Bio:
Mano Khalil is a Kurdish-Swiss film director living in Switzerland. He studied history and law at Damascus University and moved to Czechoslovakia in 1987 to study fiction and film direction. Since 1996, he has lived in Switzerland, working as an independent film director and producer. Neighbours is Mano’s seventh feature film. View on IMDB.

Film Sponsors

Shari Basom and David Spiekerman
Tammy Cohen and Barry Silverstein

Community Partners

Seattle Sephardic Network
UW Department of Near Eastern Languages & Civilization

Lead Sponsors

Loeb FamilySamis 500x2504 culture

Thank you to all of our sponsors: view here >>.