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Sink-side diplomacy: a Jewish Israeli filmmaker gets a job at an Arab hair salon

Growing up in the port city of Haifa, now in northern Israel, the Jewish Israeli filmmaker Iris Zaki rarely developed relationships or engaged in meaningful conversations with her Arab neighbours. In her short The Shampoo Summit, Zaki sets out to broaden her perspective of the city’s Arab-Jewish divide by taking a job as a ‘shampoo girl’ in a Christian Arab-owned hair salon with a female clientele as diverse as the city itself. In encounters awash with humour and humanity, Zaki draws out the women’s personal histories and perspectives on the region’s religious and ethnic tensions. In doing so, she suggests that the chasms between a country’s political leadership and its people can perhaps be countered by a different form of diplomacy, an admittedly small hope amid the seemingly deteriorating prospects of a lasting peace in the region. The Shampoo Summit is a shortened version of Zaki’s documentary Women in Sink.

Director: Iris Zaki

29 April 2019

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