Movie Review

A Bottle in the Gaza Sea

A Bottle in the Gaza Sea Movie Poster

US Release Date: 01-04-2013

Directed by: Thierry Binisti


  • Agathe Bonitzer
  • Tal Levine
  • Mahmud Shalaby
  • Naim Al Fardjouki
  • Hiam Abbass
  • Intessar
  • Riff Cohen
  • Efrat
  • Abraham Belaga
  • Eytan Levine
  • Jean-Philippe Ecoffey
  • Dan levine
  • Smadi Wolfman
  • Myriam
  • Salim Dau
  • Ahmed
  • Loai Nofi
  • Hakim
Reviewed on: March 31st, 2014
Hiam Abass and Mahmud Shalaby in A Bottle in the Gaza Sea

Hiam Abass and Mahmud Shalaby in A Bottle in the Gaza Sea

A Bottle in the Gaza Sea (Une bouteilie a la mer) is a young person's look at the Israeli/Palestinian conflict. Tai is a 17 year old Israeli girl who is inspired by the news of a nearby terrorist bombing to write a letter. She wants to know why these attacks are happening. Her brother, a soldier, throws the letter that she placed in a bottle, into the ocean.

It is found by a group of young Palestinian men who endure routine Isreali rocket attacks. Naim, a 20 year old Palestinian college student who lives in Gaza, begins an email correspondence with Tai. They each keep the emails a secret from their friends and family. Naim gets arrested by Palestinian soldiers under suspicion of his emails he sends in English and French. They accuse him of being a collaborator.

As the story plays out we see the difference between the two. Each has vastly different home lives. Tai has sex with her boyfriend. Naim, meanwhile has a friend about to be married and is excited that he will be the first of his friends to become a man. Each of their stories involves someone telling a joke about a bicycle only with a slightly different punch line. What they have in common is that each live in a world of danger. An armed guard escorts Tai’s class on a field trip. Naim and his friends are accustomed to shelling.

Over the course of a couple of years, their emails inspire each other. Naim applies for a scholarship to study in France. Tai writes him a letter to help. They also discuss meeting. They are only 60 miles away from each other but it may as well be the other side of the world. Fighting in the Gaza strip escalates. Tai loses contact with her brother who is fighting in Gaza and the correspondence with Naim becomes strained.

Films such as this are moving depictions of people living in real conflicts, where any day a bomb or rocket may end their life. Although I have only seen a handful of these types of films, I find it interesting how these Israeli/Palestinian romance “Romeo and Juliet” type stories play out. In this film and For My Father (2008), a Palestinian man and a Jewish girl fall in love, yet neither have sexual intimacy with each other. However, such films as Out of the Dark (2013), which also stars Loai Nofi, and The Bubble (2006) feature a Palestinian man and a Israeli man having a romantic/sexual relationship. Is it more taboo to show a Palestinian man and an Israeli woman having sex on film than it is two homosexuals? I am not passing judgment, just curious.

A Bottle in the Gaza Sea is an emotional look at two sides of a conflict in which two young people just want happiness in a world that seems to be working very hard against them. The ending is not as we may want but it is realistic and provides hope.