"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.


Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Changing Direction

Within the Eye of the Storm , directed by Shelley Hermon, is a hard-hitting and emotional documentary film (52 minutes) that tells the story of two men -- Bassam from Anata, a Palestinian village east of Jerusalem, and Rami, from Motza, an Israeli town west of Jerusalem.  Both men have had terrible tragedies in their lives -- they have both lost daughters in the terribly vicious and cruel cycle of violence that gripped Jerusalem during the past years. 

As a young man, Bassam was imprisoned in Hebron prison for having thrown a grenade at Israeli soldiers. There, he learned to "see" the other side.  Therefore, when his young daughter, Abir, was shot and killed by an Israeli soldier's rubber bullet, he decides not to take revenge but rather to turn to the courts and to take the State of Israel to trial.  He is an active member of Combatants forPeace.

Rami 's 14-year-old daughter, Smadar, was killed by a suicide bomber on Ben Yehuda St.  Instead of becoming angry and demanding justice, he dedicates his life to speaking before groups, carrying  a message of hope that we must learn to speak to each other before there can be peace.  Rami is active in the Parents Circle.

Rami and Bassam are two men who lead "a path of hope".  They have established a special bond between them, and they co-host a radio talk show for Radio All for Peace, an Arab-Israeli radio station.  The name of their program is Changing Direction. 

This is a film about hope, about dialogue, about learning to talk to one another.  

Rami talks about his personal journey and his first encounter with Palestinian families at a bereaved families meeting.  Bassam talks about his civil suit against the State of Israel.  They go together to Jenin, during the height of the second intifada, to meet with Palestinian men with blood on their hands, to talk with them and to show them another way.  They are determined to use the deaths of their daughters as symbols of hope.

The film is dedicated to the memory of Abir Aramin and Smadar Elhanan.

Within the Eye of the Storm is distributed by Michael Treves at JMT Films.

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