Interruption, in a mere twenty minutes, shows us a part of the globe not often seen or heard from. Its most noteworthy achievement from writer/director Zineb Oukach, is lending a voice to those who are powerless to speak up for themselves during a time when they need it most.
Oukach’s steadily paced and painstakingly eye-opening short opens in the Middle East. It follows a police detective (Mohamed Grayaa) tasked with tracking down and arresting a woman’s rights activist and journalist named Sarah (Oukach). As his investigation commences, he soon realizes that the activist in question is pregnant and is seeking the services of an abortion clinic in the United States – until her plans are interrupted when the U.S. overturns Roe v. Wade.
It’s his findings and the surprising revelation of his wife’s unexpected pregnancy that force the detective to make a life-altering decision, one that could jeopardize his entire career in a nation with such strict laws. Grayaa and Oukach, though never once interacting on screen, are magnetic in their respective roles. Both are stuck between a rock and a hard place, feeling left behind by their own nation. Grayaa’s world-weary attitude, coupled with Oukach’s quiet desperation, make for compelling windows into an environment that feels inherently hostile to both of them.
Everything is regulated, everyone is scrutinized, and the film makes that very clear throughout. Tension ebbs and flows as authorities close in on their target. Oukach’s screenplay also shines in highlighting important questions about the role of personal choice in the face of strict cultural and legal constraints.
Interruption is a uniquely powerful and thought-provoking short film that addresses a highly sensitive issue with courage and sensitivity. It also sheds light on the harsh realities faced by women in some parts of the world, where reproductive rights are severely restricted. And perhaps more pressingly, it outlines how it has become a global issue that requires more attention more than ever.