The Idol is the heart-wrenching, uplifting story of the first ever Palestinian to win Arab Idol. At the tender age of 23, underdog Mohammed Assaf travelled for two days from Gaza Strip to Egypt to audition for the talent show, going on to win against all odds and become an irresistible symbol of hope for Palestinians worldwide.
Directed by two time Oscar nominee, Hany Abu-Assad, The Idol follows young, spirited Mohammed in battle-scarred Gaza who wistfully dreams of one day singing at the Cairo Opera House with his sister and best friend, Nour. One day, Nour collapses and is rushed to the hospital where she imparts Mohammed with a seemingly impossible dying wish – that someday, he will sing in Cairo.
Fast-forward seven years and an exhausted Mohammed is no closer to fulfilling his sister’s final request. On the brink of giving up, he makes a last ditch effort to apply for popular American Idol spin-off, Arab Idol. Crossing the border from Gaza into Egypt to audition is fraught with danger, involving Mohammed in fraud, smuggling and breaking and entering. Against all odds, his audition leads him to Beirut for the main competition where each week he becomes more and more popular, capturing the heart of Palestinians as a symbol of national pride, hope and optimism.
Inspired by the incredible true story, The Idol tracks a sacred and collective moment of victory for the embattled people of Palestine who more often share in moments of protest than collective moments of peace and celebration.
“Entire generations grew up on the pulse of the Palestinian cause, with unfortunate setbacks and disappointments; however, today ‘Arab Idol Assaf’ – who came out from the heart of Palestinian suffering – carries with him headlines of hope filling the hearts of tens of thousands of young Palestinians” – Sheikh Waleed Al-Ibrahim (Variety)
Winner of Arab Idol himself, Mohammed Assaf recorded three songs for the movie’s soundtrack. The film is accompanied by a gentle music score by renowned Palestinian composer Habib Shehadeh Hanna, whose score beautifully compliments the film’s montage of pop-music elements.
Don’t miss WM Premiere: The Idol, Wednesday 21 December at 8.30pm.