Synopsis: Documentary film follows, Azmi, a 56 years old man, Palestinian Israeli from Nazareth, who was addicted to drugs, ran a prison sentence for drug trafficking, and came out with connections and knowledge that left him in the criminal world for years.
at the end he managed to admit he was addicted, weaned and cleaned himself of drugs and began working with different groups such as at-risk or regular youth, anonymous users NA. He would not have done it without the great support of Arab women who affected his life like his mother who never stopped loving and hugging him even when he stole money and gold from her to buy drugs, his sister who barely married and refused to give up her brother. His social worker mentor who drew for him the way to success and of course his wife who agreed to mingle with a criminal and drug addict against all odds and against the will of her traditional family.
The protagonist of the film is an integral part of the Palestinian Arab minority who lives in the State of Israel and is desperately looking for ways to integrate into a normative social life, but in vain. Then desperately turns to the drug and crime path as has happened with many young Palestinians from the first generation of the 1948 Nakba and the second and third and fourth generation of today whose way of life has become a crime of violence and drugs on a daily basis.
At first glance, it seems that Azmi’s social and political problem is a personal problem of reluctance or individual stupidity, but if one delves into the analysis of the difficult socio-economic situation of Palestinian society, one understands that the problem is collective.
The film takes us into the complexity of Arab Palestinian society in Israel, many of whom fall into the cycle of violence and drugs because of the despair of self-realization and socio-political identity, the loss of the collective dream as a people and the personal dream as an individual
Basel Mehsen (Ammar)
Nabela Hosary (Mother)
Bian Anteer (Drama Coach)
Shady Srour (Gangster)
When I meet a person like Azmi, the protagonist in my film, with my camera, I get confused what should I think of?? Is it on the social side? or human side? or the chauvinistic side of Palestinian society in the State of Israel? or about freedom and life? or about my politics as Palestinian Israeli director dealing my inner criminal side through cinema and creativity hoping to convey a message to future generations within a Palestinian minority that is increasingly falling apart due to violence, drugs and entering a process of self-destruction since 1948. Apparently, the value of life and the love of freedom bind it all together within him, Azmi as an ordinary person, and within me as a man of our voice
I see that the world mostly does not have the opportunity to see the Israeli-Palestinian conflict except from specific angles through news or films that narrate our life using well-known symbols that are familiar to western world, which makes it easier to sell in the global market. The conflict is much more complicated and deeper, contains many aspects that have not been seriously addressed. drugs and violence are a tool that is exploited within the Israeli Palestinian conflict.
I spent my childhood in one of the most difficult neighborhoods in Nazareth in terms of drugs and violence and it is still the same now, the government do not help us to recover, on the contrary, they see in spreading violence a way to control and dismantle us, and that is what really happens. every day I see a black reality and stand in front of it in silence announcing that I am weak and cannot change this reality and this difficult and complex mentality.
Imagine that Azmi, the main character, is an Arab-Palestinian and citizen of Israel, this says a lot, and now imagine that in addition to that, he is a drug addict who left addiction after years, this is a combination that did not have access to the cinema screen yet.
For me he is a real hero because he managed to rehab from addiction and leave the criminal world within all the social political pressures and he is helping the new generation within all the mess, this by itself turns to be a political act within the complex situation we are living here.
In this film I move between the personal and the public social-political and try to make effort to show that there is hope for even small change, it should not be with a great mission from life but still have the power for the camera to show us the truth if we put it as a mirror that reflects us and criticizes ourselves in a new way that has a real dialogue with reality and the environment.
Anan Barkat, studied film at Camera Obscura, Tel Aviv, and theoretical cinema for a bachelor’s degree at Sapir College, theorist and film critic, author of the book “The New Wave of Palestinian Cinema”. Lately was involved as writer and director in the YES TV Pandemics series. Gangster Chocolate is his debut film that is officially premiered in DOCAVIV- The Tel Aviv International Film Festival