Yellow Asphalt

"Good"

Yellow Asphalt Review


What does Yellow Asphalt teach us? Well, for starters, that life pretty much sucks for the nomadic Bedouin people who live in the deserts of the Middle East. And they don't like technology or other modern trappings, which invariably cause harm to the tribe.

Dan Verete takes this idea and puts a cryptic spin on it in Yellow Asphalt, a budget affair that exposes the generally sad existence of the Bedouins while providing a precious twinkle of insight into their lives.

Broken into three stories, Yellow Asphalt begins with a short vignette about a young boy who is mowed down by a gas tanker while crossing the road. Set aside the fact that he's in the desert and should have seen (and heard) the truck coming for miles -- I mean, what are the odds that he'd get hit while crossing the only road in the area? The truck drivers panic, hide the body, and try to escape, but no luck. They're busted by the tribesman, and eventually they offer a settlement for the boy's life: a spare tire for the truck. End of story.

The second story, slightly longer, concerns a German woman trying to escape her Bedouin husband, realizing she's made a monumental mistake in accepting his way of life. The final story concerns a woman as well; this one is having an affair with her Jewish boss at his small farm. She's caught, beaten, and eventually meets a tragic end of her own.

While Yellow Asphalt is ostensibly about the evils of modernity (or at least their perception among the Bedouins), Verete inadvertently pillories the Bedouin lifestyle and the Arab culture more than anything else. Story #1 is straightforward and tries to set the stage, but it doesn't fit the rest of the film (setting aside). The other two tales are very obviously about how awful it is to be a woman in the Bedouin culture. It's got very little to do with modern things and more to do with modern thinking.

The problem is that we can all sympathize with a kid that gets hit by a truck. It's tough to blame two women for wanting to get out of a wretched existence. More successful is Verete's somber documentation of the battle between the Bedouins and the Israelis, which, though quite one-sided, provides an interestering study into the unofficial war between the peoples. As for a movie, it's unfortunately not much of an experience.

Aka Asphalt Zahov.



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