From Israel's most important filmaker, CARMEL is Amos Gitai's (KADOSH, KIPPUR) deeply personal and resonant meditation on Jewish and Israeli identity. Using both fiction and documentary ... See full summary »
In his latest film, A Letter to a Friend in Gaza, Gitai pays homage to Albert Camus and explores the return to Palestinian villages while interjecting texts by Izhar Smilansky, Emile Habibi, Mahmoud Darwish, and Amira Hass.
Amos Gitai returns to the West Bank to better understand the efforts of the citizens, both Israelis and Palestinians, to try to overcome the consequences of the 50-year occupation. ... See full summary »
Two women embark on a road trip after they are brought together by circumstance. Rebecca (Portman) flees her hotel after a fight with her mother-in-law (Maura) and hails a taxi driven by Hanna (Lazlo).
Two interconnected stories in the 1930s, one set in Berlin, the other in Palestine: Mania Vilbouchevich Shohat (1880-1961), called Tania, a Russian Jew and revolutionary, goes from Minsk to... See full summary »
A successful exercise, but not much more than that
You remember Madonna's video "Justify My Love," where she wanders along a series of rooms with eccentric people in them and finally steps away toward the camera with a look of amusement? "Ana Arabia" is a little like "Justify My Love" without the sexual angle. Yuval Scharf plays a reporter who wanders around a neglected little neighborhood in Jaffa and hears from a succession of the residents. The conversations are quite stylized; they often begin or end with no formalities, and often Scharf doesn't look at the people she's talking with. The premise for the conversations is that she's a reporter, but she fails to conduct a conversation the way a reporter would. The stories that the people tell link up, but as far as I noticed (and I may have missed something) they don't add up to any particular revelation; and rather than action in the present, we get mostly narration about the past. Along the way, we do get a sense that something has gone wrong with the relationship of Jews and Arabs in Jaffa. Evidently they used to get along better-- except that the Jews would get angry if a Jewish woman married an Arab man. While perhaps there was a part of Jaffa where that picture was accurate, it's not accurate if applied to the whole of Jaffa (much less the whole Middle East); Arabs were already slaughtering Jews in Jaffa back in the 1920s. Aside from the obligatory why-can't-we-all-just-get-along message, though, what we have here is above all else an exercise in producing a full-length movie in a single shot. The small cast, virtually an all-star line-up, performs well, and the photography is impeccable. Assuming the movie really is a single shot as it's advertised, I wonder what the person credited with "film editing" actually did. Cropping? Color correction?
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