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Promises (2001)

8.4
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Ratings: 8.4/10 from 2,217 users   Metascore: 80/100
Reviews: 36 user | 30 critic | 16 from Metacritic.com

Several Jewish and Palestinian children are followed for three years and put in touch with each other, in this alternative look at the Jewish-Palestinian conflict. The three filmmakers ... See full summary »

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Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 12 wins & 3 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Credited cast:
Moishe Bar Am ...
Himself
B.Z. Goldberg ...
Himself
Shlomo Green ...
Himself (as Schlomo)
Sanabel Hassan ...
Herself
Faraj Adnan Hassan Husein ...
Himself
Mahmoud Mazen Mahmoud Izhiman ...
Himself
Daniel Solan ...
Himself
Yarko Solan ...
Himself
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Storyline

Several Jewish and Palestinian children are followed for three years and put in touch with each other, in this alternative look at the Jewish-Palestinian conflict. The three filmmakers followed a group of seven local children between 1995 and 1998. They all have a totally different background. These seven children tell their own story about growing up in Jerusalem. Through this portrait of their generation, we see how deep rooted and almost insoluble the problems of the Middle East have become. When the protagonists speak out in an epilogue a couple of years later, it becomes apparent that all have lost their childlike innocence. Written by Sujit R. Varma

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Documentary

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Release Date:

20 December 2001 (Netherlands)  »

Also Known As:

Promesas  »

Box Office

Opening Weekend:

$11,138 (USA) (15 March 2002)

Gross:

$243,769 (USA) (13 December 2002)
 »

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Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
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User Reviews

 
A captivating movie that will make you emotional
15 July 2001 | by (London) – See all my reviews

This is a documentary about 7 kids living through the Peace Process between Israel and the Palestinian people, between 1995-2000. Allow me to quote from the Festival's program:

"Without newsflash superficiality, political commentary or cold analysis of the situation in the Middle East, Promises is a documentary filmed between '95 and '00 that brings the perspective of seven children from diverse backgrounds and both sides of the conflict. Moishe is a settler child; Mahmoud supports Hamas; Shlomo is ultra-orthodox; Faraj lives in Dehaisheh and dreams of returning to the village from which his grandfather was exiled; Sanbal is from a refugee family with modern views; twins Yarko and Daniel are secular Israeli kids living in West Jerusalem. All live a few kilometers from one another, but are worlds apart. Before adolescence, children are freer, more spontaneous and can express themselves directly and without self-censorship. They can express what adults are afraid to say. At the same time, children, who usually allow the facts to confuse them, carry the hope for change in the patterns of hostility engrained in the minds of adults."

I saw the film at the 2001 Jerusalem Film Festival, with the twins and Mahmoud in the audience as well. Everyone was glued to the film and I think I saw many people shed some tears as Faraj, Sanbal and the twins meet for one day, doing what seemed impossible at the beginning of the project. Their faith of goodness of people is catching, and leaves you in the audience regretting the fact that us, adults, have a harder time sitting together and just getting to know one another. While the bloodshed may continue for a while longer, it is important to view such films that allow us to accept another option of the conflict.

One of the best documentaries of the year and one that is a good one to give you an explanatory introduction to the conflict. It doesn't cover all basis in this very complicated situation, but at least you will get the idea that there is no easy solution in this political-religious-historical conflict. Hopefully these kids all could meet again one day in one place without any barricades between them.

B.Z. Goldberg has definitely created relationships with these kids that without his people-skills wouldn't have made those kids open up to him the way they did. Watching Faraj weep when he realizes that BZ is going to leave them after the meeting with the twins and that all their efforts would be in vain is a moment you will remember for a long time.


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