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Maisa Abd Elhadi,
Yosef Abu Wardeh
On April 9, 1948, a Jewish militia entered the Palestinian village of Deir Yassin and killed over 100 villagers. Soon after, a mental hospital was built on the ruins. The first patients to be committed were Holocaust survivors. A legend says that to this day, the survivors have been communicating with the ghosts of the village. FORGIVENESS tells the story of David Adler, a 20-year old American-Israeli who decides to move back to Israel, only to find himself committed to a mental institution that sits on the ruins of a Palestinian village called Deir Yassin. Flashbacks and flashforwards reveal the events that led up to his hospitalization. A 10-year old female ghost holds the secret to the riddle. But only when the secret is revealed can she find rest and give David the option to end a perpetually-repeated destiny... Doctor Itzhik Shemesh, a psychiatrist at the mental institute, injects David with a chemo-technological drug in an attempt to build a bridge over the trauma zone and allow... Written by
Maybe the stage would have been a better home for this work than the screen. Or else the visual side of the movie should have been more strongly stylized, so that the heavy-handed material would look less ridiculous in contrast. The movie opens with a bit of dialog taken directly from Hamlet and spoken in an Israeli mental institution where evidently everyone speaks in English. Israelis speaking English to one another would be understandable if it were a consistent convention in the movie, but outside the mental institution they don't seem to. And the English is a struggle for the actors-- although some of the preachy, symbolic proclamations they give forth with would be a struggle for any actor. The movie seems to be telling us that the Israeli nation will be insane until it comes face to face with its guilt and recognizes that its conflict with the Arabs, and indeed its very presence, is nothing but a compulsion born of Holocaust trauma. The movie's Hebrew title MECHILOT can be seen as corresponding to its English title FORGIVENESS, for it implies that the Arabs (shown here as guiltless and quite modern as well) will forgive a repentant, self-abnegating Jew; but the Hebrew title more obviously means BURROWS-- another reference to Hamlet, as it is explained that the Jews arrived in Israel underground and dead like the "old mole" who was the ghost of Hamlet's father.
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