- September 26, 2018
In what he describes as a “semi-documentary,” documentary filmmaker Avi Mograbi plays a fictional filmmaker named Avi Mograbi, who has been hired to make a film about the celebrations of Israel's 50th anniversary. As chance would have it, a Palestinian producer also asks him to shoot footage of former Palestinian villages that were destroyed by colonists half a century ago. What’s more, the date celebrated by Israeli Jews and commemorated as Nakba Day (Yawm an-Nakba, meaning “Day of the Catastrophe”) by Palestinians happens to coincide with his own 42nd birthday.
Documentary footage demonstrates the two entirely contrasting realities. It’s linked together by a series of scenes in which the filmmaker talks about his purchase of a piece of land, which has landed him in an impossible situation with the owners of the adjacent plot. Jumping back and forth between these three different stories, Happy Birthday, Mr. Mograbi uses sardonic humor to deliver a sharp analysis of the state of an entire nation.