Date Showing Showing On 13, 15, 16, December
Time Showing Monday 6pm, Wednesday 4pm and Thursday 6pm

Breaking Bread

M 1hrs 26mins
documentary | 2020, USA | Arabic, English, Hebrew

In Breaking Bread, exotic cuisine and a side of politics are on the menu. Dr. Nof Atamna-Ismaeel - the first Muslim Arab to win Israel's MasterChef - is on a quest to make a social change through food. And so, she founded the A-sham Arabic Food Festival in Haifa. There, pairs of Arab and Jewish chefs collaborate on mouthwatering dishes like kishek (a Syrian yogurt soup), and qatayef (a dessert typically served during Ramadan), as we savor the taste of hope and discover the food of their region free from political and religious boundaries.


Coarse Language

Beth Elise Hawke
Original Review
Reviews by Judith (and Friends), Sydney, Aus
Extracted By
Janez Zagoda
Dr Nof Atamna-Ismaeel, Shlomi Meir, Ali Khattib

Watch The Trailer


Storyline (warning: spoilers)

There’s inspiring women and then there’s the woman at the centre of this documentary. Dr Nof

Atamna-Ismaeel was the first Muslim Arab to win Israel’s MasterChef and this film by Beth Elise
Hawk is a delectable and insightful exploration of her passion for food - apolitical food, food for
people not politics or religion. It’s a superbly envisioned document which is deliciously uplifting
and exciting and leaves you wanting more … peace.
The A’Sham Arabic Food Festival has been co-founded by this powerhouse chef who says her
high profile win gives her ‘some kind of a power, a tool, to use food to make bridges between
Jew and Arab’. The festival is the framework for the film. It takes place in Haifa, Israel, involves
35 restaurants, puts a Jewish chef with an Arabic chef ‘to bring back to life an extinct dish from
the Arabic cuisine’. The documentary follows three of the pairs of chefs as they prepare a dish
to be served at the festival and we meet each individually before they meet each other. They
are an eclectic lot as they speak to heritage, culture, religion and food. Always upmost in their
conversations with the filmmaker behind the camera, the food. Crazy mixed-up families seem
the norm here with Catholic, Muslim, Jewish influences being discussed, someone says they
celebrate Christmas, Ramadan and Hanukkah equally, and the cuisine flows across all barriers.
A’Sham is a geographic word and the map is used very effectively to show where are the cuisine
and recipes’ heritages. Meaning ‘The Levant’ this is regional food - Levantine food and the
particular dishes are gloriously captured. The food is colourful, various and piquant. Especially
the enormous varieties of hummus (hummus has no borders) which is a signature of the festival
and is filmed with a sense of movement either of the camera or being stirred or layered or
having beautiful crisp herbs sprinkled over. The smell and the flavours are implied by the
terrific photography and the dishes are unstyled apart from the chef’s artistic placement on the
plain restaurant plates. The cooking, though, is just one of the inspirations to take away from
Breaking Bread, each dish on the screen brings we humans a little closer.

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