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This movie could have been a victim of Amos Kollek's vanity since he wrote, directed and acts in it, and his father is the Mayor of Jerusalem. But fortunately, he also had the sense to cast Faye Dunaway as his lead. In spite of being unable to shake off elements of the gorgon Joan (as predicted by Pauline Kael in her review of Mommie Dearest in The New Yorker), Dunaway lends her considerable presence and technique to the part of a temp journalist in Israel, eager to make an impression. She even gets to take her own photos, a la Laura Mars. At first Dunaway doesn't quite know to respond to Kollek as a suitor (and his performance is so ineffectual that he can't even read a joke well) but soon we get taken away by her and become reliant on her reactions. This film is an improvement on Costa Gavras' Hanna K, since Kollek's focus is stronger, and because he provides a positively brilliant ending, we're probably willing to forgive his own throw-away performance. This film also features Hanna K's accused terrorist Mohammed Bakri in a similar role. (Talk about being typecast!) It also contains interviews with various partisan leaders, including Hanan Ashwari, Abba Egan, and Rabbi Meir Kahane (who was assassinated shortly after the film was made). What is interesting is that the interviews don't affect the tone of the film, since Kollek introduces each location in a similar way, and also because there is no attempt made to allegiance. In spite of Kollek's character being Jewish he is still able to visit a Palestinian household without being murdered. I got a laugh at how Dunaway is offered Moscow as her next assignment, but it's an assignment I'd sure like to follow up on, since seeing Dunaway in the lead of a film is so rare these days. That's of course, if she survives her time in Israel.
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