10 Years of Discovering the Best Documentaries for You

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- 2.4.2012 10:00 -

Palestinian Easter

palestinska pomlazka

Out of our Easter special including three features (Hula and Natan, Stretch Marks, Description of a Memory) and seven shorts (Jerusalem Moments 1 – 7), let us introduce the following:

“Like Movie Heroes”

A group of young Palestinians veiled in the typical black-and-white scarves are moving cautiously through the night landscape. They are heading to the Israeli-Palestinian border. With a relentless expression in their faces, they are demonstrating their determination. “We are walking like movie heroes,” says one of them to relieve the tension. Jihad fighters? Terrorists? Martyrs? Not at all. They are bricklayers and construction workers! This is what their “ordinary” way to work looks like. At night, they are fleeing the Israeli police; during the day, they are building Israeli houses in Jerusalem. Such is but one of the many paradoxes of the “wild” Near East.
Made by Israeli director Daniel Gal, the film Nine to Five of the Jerusalem Moments series has more action and suspense than many a Hollywood blockbuster. At the border wall separating Israel and Palestine, people’s lives are really at stake. It is not just the lives of the young men who dive down the 25-feet wall in sudden panic caused by the flashlights of the police jeep. It is also the lives of their wives, parents and primarily children for whom they undertake this involuntary adventure at all.

“More Than Just a Fuck”

Jewish filmmaker, musician and performer Zohar Wagner continues her thorough exploration of her spiritual, family and sexual life. In comparison to her debut Zorki, in her new film Stretch Marks she does so with greater filmmaking self-confidence. While the essential themes and props remain the same, the focal point of the film shifts to a more personal yet paradoxically more comprehensible message.
Moving on the border between home video and video art, the projects of Zohar Wagner are rather self-centred, however, they cannot be denied a certain (rather provocative) sincerity. To Zohar Wagner, the body is a tool of self-expression. She is not afraid to juxtapose her stage image of an unrestrained femme fatale with that of a sobbing mother-to-be tormented with birth pangs. While she explored her self through her mother in Zorki, in Stretch Marks she does so through her own motherhood. In the former film, motherhood was an external aspect and had a remarkably negative influence on her (consisting in the involuntarily shared secret of her mother’s infidelity), while in the latter she experiences motherhood in an internal and positive way. Though her daughter Lucy is the cause of her breakup with the man she loves, her presence in Zohar’s life is still considered a fundamental expression of Love.

“All My Life My Face Was in the Mud”

The sad documentary farce Hula and Natan takes place in the Israeli town of Sderot which has not been really flourishing in the past few years. Due to its closeness to the Palestinian border, it has become a popular target for the home-made rockets of Islamic Jihad fighters after the outbreak of the Second Intifada. Such neighbours are hardly popular; there is no wonder that the city with a population of 20 000 has to deal with a massive exodus of its inhabitants. However, this does not go for Hula and Natan, two brothers and “business partners” running a garage on the neglected periphery of Sderot. Hula and Natan are sick of struggling with their fate. They only have enough energy to quarrel for cigarettes, food or just for the heck of it. They are completely indifferent about national conflict. Though they are Jewish, their bond to their state is rather lukewarm. They beg for nothing, they ask for nothing; perhaps for everyone to leave them alone. However, their refuge lies on too hot a ground for that. While Israeli authorities keep on threatening them with forced eviction, Palestinian bombs keep falling on their heads from the other side.

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