Life Sentences

( Israel / 2013 )
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An Arab man marries a Jewish woman. They give birth to a girl and a boy and live in quiet harmony among the Arab-Jewish community. Nobody realizes that behind dozens of mysterious terror attacks which trembles the state of Israel in the late 60's stands no other than the Arab father.

When he is caught the mother decides to flee the country with her kids. When they grow up, the two will take opposite roads – She will become an ultra-orthodox Jew, and he will fall in love and marry his Muslim cousin..

Formats: Digital Copy, DVD
Running Time: 96 min.
Theme: Conflicts, Family, Human Rights, Israeli-Palestinian Conflict, Middle Eastern Studies, Personal Story, Religion and Spirituality, Society
Language(s): Arabic, Hebrew
Subtitles: English
Director(s): Nurit Kedar, Yaron Shani
Producer(s): Nurit Kadaer
Excluded regions: Israel, Serbia, Slovenia, see all »
Life Sentences


  • The title of this fascinating documentary by Nurit Kedar and Yaron Shani is derived from the life of Fawzi al Nimer, an Israeli Arab sentenced to 27 life sentences for 22 terrorist actions that he undertook following the Six-Day War... Life Sentences serves up a powerful personal tale of the devastation wrought by the Arab-Israeli conflict, as well as a reminder of how the sins of the father can be visited upon the son. Recommended.
    Video Librarian
  • Provocative
    Screen Daily
  • The movie oscillates between close up shots of Nimer as he sits in front of the camera, to shots of Nimer revisiting the old places he grew up. He prays in his old Ultra-Orthodox Yeshiva, and he visits his old boarding school. The memories are very much present for him as he wanders these old haunts.
    New Voices
  • “Life Sentences” follows Nimer’s journey from Israel to Canada, and from Tunisia back to Israel. It examines an isolated, tortured childhood and a conflicted adulthood. A profoundly affecting film, it addresses the question of identity, how we define ourselves and, perhaps more crucially, how others define us.
  • This complex and curious story, with its twists and turns, seems to embody the many dilemmas of the Middle East. Momi/Shlomo/Namir’s tale illustrates the possibilities of finding love in both cultures despite each religion opposing such unions. And who is he?
    POV Magazine
  • “What am I?” he asks in the film. “According to Muslims, I am a Muslim. According to Jews, I am a Jew. If I go by which is the more ancient people, I would be a Jew. If I go by which is the more populous people, I would be a Muslim.” It is not, he stresses towards the end of the 94-minute movie, that he wants to be part of both religions and nations - its more that he is, or he wants, none of it.
    Danna Harman

Academic Notes

  • Life Sentences, Review by Yohai Hakak (University of Portsmouth)
    "Having an Arab terrorist as a father and living amongst Jews made Momi and his sister and mother popular targets of abuse. His mother went abroad in search for a place where she and her children could start a new life. However, her search took several years during which time Momi and his sister lived in two homes for Jewish children, trying unsuccessfully to hide their real identities and experiencing varying levels of abuse."

awards & accolades

  • Jerusalem Film Festival - Best Documentary
  • Millenium Film Festival - “Objectif d’Or” the Grand Award
  • Accolade Global Film Competition - Award of Merit
  • Student Academy Awards - semifinalist
  • First Run Film Festival - Janowsky Award

Festival participation

  • Jerusalem Film Festival
  • Zagrebdox
  • Silicon Valley Jewish Film Festival
  • 45th Annual USA Film Festival
  • San Diego Jewish Film Festival 2015
  • Millenium Film Festival 2014
  • Oakland International Film Festival 2015
  • Accolade Global Film Competition 2015
  • St. Louis International Film Festival 2015
  • Student Academy Awards 2014
  • First Run Film Festival 2014
  • IDFA 2014
  • Toronto Jewish Film Festival 2014
  • New York Film Festival 2014
  • First Run Film Festival 2014
  • Milano Film Festival 2014
  • Silicon Valley Jewish Film Festival 2014
  • Millenium International Documentary Film Festival 2014
  • Annual East Bay International Jewish Film Festival 2014
  • Other Israel Film Festival 2014
  • ZagrebDox 2014

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Additional Info

Production Company: Nurit Kadar
Distribution Company: CAT&Docs

Life Sentences

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