"World Cinema: Israel"

My book, "World Cinema: Israel" (originally published in 1996) is available from Amazon on "Kindle", with an in-depth chapter comparing and analyzing internationally acclaimed Israeli films up to 2010.

Want to see some of the best films of recent years? Just scroll down to "best films" to find listings of my recommendations.


Sunday, October 2, 2011

Focus on a short political drama from the Ma'aleh Film School

Barriers, directed by Golan Rise, is an authentic and realistic portrayal of the issues that Israeli soldiers face at a checkpoint.  On the one hand, the young commander of a checkpoint has to deal with really sick people arriving in an ambulance, with the women of Machsom Watch who are trying to tell him what to do, and with the pressures of an intelligence alert which is warning him of a suicide bomber in his military sector. 

The film shows the complexity of the situation.  As a political statement, it justifies the existence of the checkpoint.  But as a human statement, it mourns the death and dying on both sides and it shows the terrible situations that arise on a daily basis.  The film is also about mother-son relations.  For the first time, the Israeli mother, who usually appears in Israeli films as waiting at home to hear about her son's welfare, now emerges from her home and travels to the checkpoint to confront her son concerning his behavior towards the local Palestinians.

In this short piece on youtube, you can find footage about the making of the film, including comments by the filmmaker which will provide interesting material for discussion following the screening of the film.  One of the actresses on the set comments that behind the scenes an interesting triangle was established -- there were the modern orthodox crew members, the secular actors and the Arab actors.  An interesting mix in any professional situation!
Barriers (22 minutes), a production of the Ma'aleh Film School , won the award for best short film at the Jerusalem Film Festival, 2011.

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