Watching Chris Marker's 1960 documentary about Israel now is curious- what he noticed and what he missed, the things which are no longer important and the things he ignored that concern us now, what he got right and what he didn't. Then Israel was a regional David, surrounded by apparently stronger enemies, now it is the superpower of the region. Then the kibbutz were worth looking at for a long time, though Marker's view is sceptical and ironic and he thought they might become less significant in the future. Marker's Israel is still an agricultural land, with horses and carts delivering food to market. Marker concentrates on the European founders and almost ignores the "oriental" Jews driven from Arab countries. He looks at an Arab family in Nazareth and at Bedouin discussing the virtues of their horses but pays no attention to the Palestinian refugees. There are extraordinary shots- a crop-dusting 'plane, an Arab boy riding his delivery trolley downhill, accompanied by a patronising and arrogant commentary. indeed, that is one big problem: what might be profound and philosophical in French is pretentious and phony in an English translation.
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