Last week at the Jerusalem Film Festival, there were two important feature films about suicide bombers in Israel-Palestine -- both made by foreign directors. Although these are not Israeli films, they are important to know about, especially because these are the films that are being made and distributed around the world.
The film, Inch'Allah, directed by French Canadian director, Anais Barbeau-Lavalette, is about a doctor from Quebec who comes to live in Jerusalem and volunteer in medical clinic in a Palestinian refugee camp near Ramallah. She befriends two women -- a Jewish woman living in her apartment building in West Jerusalem and a Palestinian woman who is pregnant whom she has met through her clinic. This is a film about the occupation of the West Bank -- the checkpoints, the terrible treatment of individuals and the disregard for human life.
The Attack, directed by Lebanese director, Ziad Doueiri, is about a respected Palestinian Israeli doctor who is shocked to discover that he is intimately associated with the perpetrator of a bombing in Tel Aviv. He travels to Nablus in his quest to understand what motivated the perpetrator -- this becomes a personal quest after his own identity. More than anything else, this film is about the identity of a Palestinian Israeli man who is caught between his life as a respected doctor in Israel and how he is perceived by Palestinians living in the West Bank. Interestingly, this film was banned in Beirut, but screened in Israel!
Both films are well-made, complex narrative films (although perhaps Inch'Allah is a bit less believable). Both films are about doctors -- who work in a world of empathy and compassion which does not really exist outside of their bubble -- both of whom get involved in the conflict and the atrocities of the occupation and the grappling with understanding what could possibly make someone become a suicide bomber.