Erez Tadmor and Guy Nattiv's short film Strangers is a compelling and thought-provoking film that reveals the barriers created in society by religion and ethnicity. The film begins with two passengers sharing a subway car. One of the men is Muslim (assumed based on the Arabic newspaper he's reading), the other Israeli (the tip-off here is the Jewish Star of David he proudly displays around his neck). As the title says, they're strangers, but their cultural animosity is centuries old.
As the Jewish passenger takes his seat, he immediately reacts to the other passenger's Arabic newspaper. Knowing nothing of this man, he begins making his own judgments, is this stranger on the train sympathetic to terrorists? Is he one himself? It's not long before the Arabic passenger is cognizant of the strange man "dirty looks" towards him. His eyes quickly fall on the Star of David symbol dangling from the man's neck and begin to reciprocate similar emotions. Is this man Israeli military or police? Has he gunned down protesters and jailed innocent people?
What looks like a film about Arab and Jewish relations is given a sharp and unexpected twist when the threat of a common adversary cause the two men to reevaluate their own prejudices. But can they work together for their own good, or are the wounds of cultural antagonism ingrained too deep?
Shot with no dialog, the filmmakers have succeeded in piecing together a movie that will keep you spellbound for its entire seven-minute length. The suspense at first between the Arab and Jewish passenger merely sets the stage for the intense action to come, an accomplishment that would have made the legendary Alfred Hitchcock proud.
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