The Idol

The Idol (2015)

The Idol
7.7/10 by 25 users

Mohammed Assaf, an aspiring musician living in Gaza, sets a seemingly impossible goal: to compete on the program "Arab Idol."

Original Title:Ya tayr el tayer
Release Date:September 1, 2015
Genres:Comedy, Drama
Production Company:Doha Film Institute
Production Countries:Palestinian Territory
Director:Hany Abu-Assad
Casts:, , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
Plot Keywords:competition, based on true story, singer, singing competition, gaza strip
  • The true story of the Palestinian who won "Arab Idol" in 2013 is considerably more moving than the back stories promoted in "The X Factor"
    October 12, 2015

    This is the basically true story of Palestinian Mohammad Assaf, who won "Arab Idol" in 2013 and is now a goodwill ambassador for the UN. Those who know of his success will love to re-live it. But for perhaps the majority of westerners this is an inspiring, universal story of love conquering fear. The first 90 minutes are set in Gaza, where Assaf was raised. He showed talent early on. We assume that his sick sister will recover. But we're wrong. We're led to believe that Mohammad was inspired to succeed. The story of Mohammad's struggle to enter "Arab Idol" seems incredible. But he really did get a forged visa to Egypt, where the 2013 finals were held, and he really did break into the hotel to audition because he didn't have a ticket. The rest is history. The genuine footage of Mohammad's success being celebrated by thousands of people in streets throughout the Arab world is astonishing. Few will be able to suppress a tear as Mohammad states that he entered the contest because he wanted Palestine's voice to be heard. After success in Toronto, the film played the London Film Festival, where director Hany Abu-Assad revealed that he was mostly unable to shoot in Gaza, ostensibly because he was born in Israel. But the principal children during that first 90 minutes are Palestinian and it seems they were allowed to be taken elsewhere for the shoot, possibly Jordan. Mohammed Assaf was also present at the screening and claimed to be very proud of the way in which he was represented. This record of a talent contest inspiring goodwill between nations that continues to this day puts the nonsense that sustains the likes of "The X Factor" into a very real perspective.