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USA, 1979 (MIFF 1981, New Directors)

Director: Issam Makdissy

Liar's Dice rests on an intriguingly elliptical plot by lead actress, Terry Eubanks-Makdissy From this, director Issam Makdissy has woven a loosely-knit fabric of shifting focus and thickening relationships. Gradually, one separates the film's three major characters from other peripheral figures, and an oblique and atypical romantic triangle comes into the foreground

Its principal figures are: Anne, a woman painter, who makes do by working as a cocktail waitress in a low-class Oakland bar; Joe, a white-haired, older, divorced man who frequents the bar and has a passion for horse-racing as well as for Anne, and Samir, a young Arab, (played by the director) who is going to school, enduring an unhappy marriage to an American, and soothing some of his marital dissatisfactions and homesickness for Lebanon in an affair with Anne.

The film conveys a poignant sense of some working-class lives, centring on characters who know broken dreams and relationships all too well. Surprisingly, despite its share of sad insights, the film does not traffic in despair, but rather finds signs of resilience in unlikely places and people.

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