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Raymond J. Barry,
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I enjoyed this film and I'm going to review it instead of discussing the pros and cons of Israel/Palestine.
I saw it at Cinema Sundays at the Charles, here in Baltimore MD USA.
In the interest of full disclosure, I am not Jewish, and I am anti-Israel and pro-Palestine.
At Cinema Sundays, the host is Jewish, and this week's discussion leader is also Jewish -- I think I'm safe in saying it's a largely Jewish group which goes to Cinema Sundays and attended this screening. Although a show of hands said that more liked it than disliked it, the host and discussion leader didn't like it at all --- the discussion leader had even skipped the pre-screening the day before -- his reason seemed to boil down to he had better things to do.
The discussion was largely (but not all) panning the film.
I thought (with one glaring exception, which I won't reveal here) that the movie was balanced, while telling the story primarily from the Jewish side. In the foreground, it concerns an American Jew and an Arab Palestinian who meet in the U.S. and become friends. Each finds himself going to Palestine in 1947, knowing that a conflict is coming, a struggle for control of the land. The story of these two men and their friends and lovers is in the foreground, and in the background is the story of the British leaving Palestine, and the U.N. vote for partition.
There's a fair amount of violence, sudden, unexpected violence realistically portrayed. However, there's no enjoyment of the mayhem, and but little glorification of it.
I felt well-informed by the movie in terms of its telling of the story of the birth of Israel. I think this is good story-telling -- although, of course, the two main characters keep encountering each other even after they split up - well, duh, it's a movie about these two characters! :o) A little cinematic license. There's a very touching and emotional scene near the end which had me riveted.
I think the story is told relatively objectively (which is to say, more objectively than, say, 90% of news coverage here in the USA, which overwhelmingly favors Israel) while holding out hope for reconciliation between Arabs and Jews in Israel/Palestine. And, I have to say, I think that's why so many people at Cinema Sundays disliked the movie, without really being able to articulate why ("I've seen this all before, oversimplified, unlikely...") -- because it was objective and told the Arab side, and portrayed the Palestinians as human beings who suffered in the partition.
I give it an 8 because of the one pulled punch, which I thought destroyed the balance of the film. I'll discuss that on the Message Boards, as I don't want to Spoil the movie.
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