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Frequently criticized for supposedly being blindly pro-PLO and nearly propagandistic (I suspect by people who haven't actually seen the film, mostly), Jean-Luc Godard's "Dziga Vertov" group shot "Ici et ailleurs" in 1970 in Palestine and Jordan, and no longer a member, Godard later edited the footage into this remarkably interesting short feature.
For all the accusations of antisemitism that this film has gotten, it is remarkably critical of much of what the PLO is doing. Of course, in the limited mindset of 'you either support Israel or not', Godard and Anne-Marie Mieville daring to question Israel's practices might be considered antisemitic, but their criticism of the PLO's dogmatic politics are far more frequently used in the film, and perhaps even more biting.
The film is far too complex for such simple analysis. Coming shortly after Godard made several of his most difficult (and preachy, and annoying, and worst) films, "Ici et ailleurs" is a remarkable visual essay on the difficulty of documentary film-making, especially political documentaries, and the relationship between images and reality.
"Ici et ailleurs" is remarkably provocative and exceptionally candid, coming far closer to the heart of the PLO and the people involved than any news report or documentary from the time that I've managed to track down. In that sense it is especially important for history buffs, but not for those looking for education on the matter as this film assumes the viewer has full knowledge of what was going on at the time.
The final ten minutes or so are especially interesting, and all in all "Ici et ailleurs" is unquestionably thought-provoking and not at all trite in any way in its approach and execution. It is never self-important, always asking questions and never stating anything outside of the guarded opinions of the filmmakers (who present their opinions as opinions and not fact), the film achieves the sort of lack of manipulation that few documentaries do. I doubt this film will ever see a big DVD release, especially not in North America, but it must be seen by as many as possible, if not for its quality (which is certainly debatable) then for its unique candidness.
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