‘Screwdriver’ explores the impact of long-term isolation

A still from the film. (Image supplied)
Updated 11 September 2018
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‘Screwdriver’ explores the impact of long-term isolation

  • A stoic and impressive performance by Bakri helps the movie transcend the blurred lines between hallucination and reality

VENICE: Set in Palestine, Bassam Jarbawi’s “Screwdriver” is a compelling story of what torture and isolation can do to a person — in this case Zaid (played by Zaid Bakri), a former basketball champion.
Showcased at the Venice film festival last week, the film revolves around Zaid, whose long incarceration in an Israeli jail shatters his self-esteem and turns him into a psychological wreck.
When Zaid’s best friend, Ramzi, is shot dead by a sniper in the West Bank, he is livid and takes up a gun to kill an Israeli passerby. Arrested and thrown into jail, and abandoned by his friends, Zaid feels a suffocating sense of loneliness and rejection by a society that he was such an integral part of.
His ultimate homecoming after 15 years seems like an exercise in futility, and he feels that his once-upon-a-time friends are merely trying to erase their own guilt — at having forsaken Zaid — by celebrating his return, while an attractive television reporter wants to capitalize on the opportunity that his story can offer. He realizes that he is not even able to connect with his mother, let alone his friends. It is only his admirer, Salma (Maya Omaia Keesh), who appears to have a genuine fondness for him.
A stoic and impressive performance by Bakri helps the movie transcend the blurred lines between hallucination and reality, between a psychological thriller and a social drama, while the narrative provides deep insight into what long-term imprisonment can do to a person.
A time comes when Zaid reacts with rage and panic to the situation he finds himself in, until he finds it difficult to differentiate between fact and fiction.


Tunnel through an Australian mountain? No problem, says Elon Musk

Updated 17 January 2019
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Tunnel through an Australian mountain? No problem, says Elon Musk

  • The entrepreneur behind electric carmaker Tesla has most recently turned his sights on tackling city traffic via low-cost tunnels
  • Musk in 2017 made a Twitter pitch to build what was the world’s biggest battery in an Australian state to solve its severe energy crisis

SYDNEY: Australia could become a test ground for another of Elon Musk’s massive infrastructure projects after the maverick billionaire tweeted a “bargain” price to build a tunnel through a mountain to solve Sydney’s traffic woes.
Musk in 2017 made a Twitter pitch — and followed through with the offer — to build what was the world’s biggest battery in an Australian state to solve its severe energy crisis.
The entrepreneur behind electric carmaker Tesla has most recently turned his sights on tackling city traffic via low-cost tunnels created by his Boring Company, and in December unveiled a sample project near Los Angeles.
So when an Australian politician tweeted at Musk on Wednesday about the costs of drilling through a mountain range north of Sydney, he responded quickly.
“I’m a lawmaker in Sydney, which is choking with traffic. How much to build a 50km tunnel through the Blue Mountains and open up the west of our State?,” asked New South Wales state MP Jeremy Buckingham.
“About $15M/km for a two way high speed transit, so probably around $750M plus maybe $50M/station,” Musk replied late Wednesday, with his response liked more than 22,000 times on Twitter.
He has more than 24 million followers on the social media platform.
Another billionaire, Mike Cannon-Brookes, who founded Australian software startup Atlassian, weighed in on the exchange, saying the estimated price tag “sounds like a bargain for Sydney.”
The population of the Sydney region has grown by around 25 percent since 2011 to reach 5.4 million, out of a national population of 25 million, and road congestion is a major concern.
There was no indication the exchange of tunnel tweets would lead to any quick action, but it could bring some needed positive publicity for Musk.
Musk has risen to prominence with a series of ambitious ventures, particularly Tesla, but has also drawn plenty of criticism for some volatile behavior.
He waged a public battle with a rescuer who helped save a group of boys trapped in a cave in Thailand last year, calling him a “pedo guy” after the Brit slammed his idea of building a mini-submarine to save the children as a public relations stunt.
Meanwhile, riders who have tested out Boring’s prototype tunnel — where cars are lowered by lifts then slotted into tracks and propelled along at high speeds — have complained of a bumpy journey.