Adam Bakri in Omar.

Palestinian filmmaker Hany Abu-Assad, whose brilliant 2005 film Paradise Now was nominated for an Oscar, has notched another well-deserved Best Foreign Language Film Oscar nod for the intense and gripping Omar.

Adam Bakri delivers a commanding performance as the title character, a Palestinian baker who routinely scales a zoning wall to see his girlfriend, Nadja (Leem Lubany)—dodging both bullets and Israeli soldiers in the process.

Omar schemes with his buddies Tarek (Iyad Hoorani) and Amjad (Samer Bisharat) to strike at the Israelis, ultimately taking part in the shooting of an Israeli soldier through a camp gate in the middle of the night. He’s eventually arrested and tortured when he refuses to talk, and winds up being interrogated by Agent Rami (Waleed Zuaiter), who gives Omar a chance to leave prison—as long as he turns his friends in.

Credit goes to Abu-Assad for making this a powerful political thriller and a satisfyingly told love story. See it.

Omar is playing at the Cinemas Palme d’Or (72840 Highway 111, Palm Desert; 760-779-0430).