‘The Stranger’ Review: Glowering, Gorgeously Shot Parable of Occupation and Oppression in the Golan Heights

Gloom, deployed as a storytelling tactic, can exert a strange, unsettling pull when it’s as capably and beautifully conveyed as in Syrian director Ameer Fakher Eldin’s “The Stranger,” recently announced as Palestine’s international Oscar entry.

A granular depiction of oppression as a kind of inescapable inheritance handed down from father to son, with mothers and daughters its peripheral, persevering survivors, .But it is also attuned to the bleak grandeur of the landscapes in this cinematically little-seen region, and its rich, painterly images, appropriately hemmed into boxy Academy ratio, should make “The Stranger” as much a calling card for its cinematographer, Niklas Lindschau, as for Eldin.

If not more so: Whenever Eldin’s screenplay gets too ponderous, when the pacing lags or the storytelling withholds too much, there is always a surprising composition to pin our attention.

An elderly woman folding linen is briefly a Vermeer.

A far-off mountainside in fall,

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