‘Screwdriver’ explores the impact of long-term isolation

A still from the film. (Image supplied)
Updated 11 September 2018
0

‘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.


Distracted biking: Dutch ban for cyclists using mobile phones

Updated 26 September 2018
0

Distracted biking: Dutch ban for cyclists using mobile phones

  • The government is to ban the use of all but hands-free devices while cycling
  • Cycling is a way of life in the Netherlands, where bikes outnumber people

THE HAGUE, Netherlands: The sight of cyclists hurtling along while glued to their smartphones is a common one in the bike-mad Netherlands, but it will soon be illegal.
With a growing number of accidents involving phones and bikes, the government is to ban the use of all but hands-free devices while cycling.
“It is forbidden to use a mobile electronic device while driving any vehicle (including a bicycle),” says the draft law announced by Transport Minister Cora van Nieuwenhuizen late Tuesday.
The bike law will take effect from July next year.
Car and lorry drivers are already banned from using mobiles at the wheel unless they are in hands-free mode, with a maximum fine of €230 ($260), but the new law specifically mentions bikes.
The fine is likely to be the same for cyclists but the government is awaiting the result of a public consultation, Nieuwenhuizen said.
“It’s just as dangerous on a bike and on all types of vehicles as it is in a car,” she said. “The fact is that when you are on the road you have to pay full attention and not send messages or do other things on the phone.”
Michael Kulkens, who has campaigned for a ban since his 13-year-old son Tommy-Boy was killed in a bike accident while looking at a phone in 2015, welcomed the change in the law.
“I had to stop my car at the side of the road and the tears welled up in my eyes when I heard on the radio that the ban on the bike is coming,” De Telegraaf newspaper quoted him as saying.
“In my mind, I said: ‘We did it Tommy-Boy. We did it.’”
Cycling is a way of life in the Netherlands, where bikes outnumber people, with an estimated nearly 23 million cycles for some 17 million people.
But while it boasts outstanding infrastructure for cyclists across its flat landscape, the use of mobile phones is a growing hazard, with a smartphone involved in one in five bike accidents involving young people, according to the Dutch Road Safety organization.
Nelly Vollebregt, president of the Dutch road accident victims association, who is herself in a wheelchair after a bike accident caused by a motorist who was looking at a phone, said that 25 percent of the 613 people who died on Dutch roads last year were killed by distractions.
Last year the Dutch town of Bodegraven launched a trial of foot-level traffic lights for pedestrians to prevent them straying into roads or cycle lanes while glued to their mobile screens.