Omar Shargawi, born to a Danish mother and Palestinian father, won two prizes for his debut film, Ma Salama Jamil - Gå med fred Jamil (Go in peace Jamil) at the Göteborg International Film Festival.
Shargawi won the Church of Sweden Film Prize of 50,000 kroner (~$8000) for the dialog conducted about freedom and human dignity in the center of the film's themes of honor murder and revenge.
The Danish debut film also won the International Critic's aware, the Fipresci Award, for impressing with its energy, strength and originality and for dealing with actual and political subjects in a stirring and fascinating manner. The three members of the jury wrote that they were sure Shargawi will become one of the big names in Nordic films.
Jamil is in the middle of the circle, the violent and vicious circle of revenge and atonement. He knows he is responsible for his own future, for his little son, for his wife who doubts whether they can make a future together. An Arab story about age-old religious contradictions in a large Danish city.
Shargawi about his début film: 'Go with Peace Jamil is about Arab people in a Western country. The story is based on the cultural, religious and traumatic ballast many Middle Eastern refugees carry along when they arrive at their new home in the West.'
The gripping drama focuses on Jamil, an Arab young man in Copenhagen who is involved in settling old debts - unwillingly, but no less violently. With his colourful Arab cast, Shargawi sketches the Arab immigrant community in a large western city in a mature and self-assured way. Hardly a word of Danish is spoken. The tragedy is driven by the power of family bonds and the loyalty and self-sacrifice between friends, the religious boundaries within the Arab community and Jamil's love for his little son and his wife, from whom he has become alienated.
Shargawi: 'Somehow, I also let my story's characters spring out of peoples' prejudices about Arabs, but first of all I want to show that Arabs are not just bad-tempered maniacs with bombs around their waists. I want to get inside their minds and show the sorrow and privation many Middle East people feel. At the same time I would like to illustrate the beauty of the Arabic culture, the way the sophisticated Arabic language is being used and the warmth and tenderness, which exist between most Arabs.
Sources: Berlingske Tidende (Danish), International Film Festival Rotterdam (English)