"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.


Tuesday, July 7, 2020

Conflicting Narratives

Tangled Roots (שיעור מולדת), directed by Anat Zeltzer and narrated by Modi Bar-On, is a documentary TV series which offers a broad history of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict.  The series uses both Jewish and Palestinian academics in an attempt at providing an even-handed discussion of both points of view, what might be commonly called the “double narrative”.  The series, which was surprisingly balanced in its portrayal of both sides in the conflict, is quite thorough, hard-hitting and filled with historical detail.

In Episode One – we see two nationalisms developing, side by side.  The episode spans a period from the end of the 19th century to the beginning of the British Mandate, and shows how conflicting promises by the British to both the Jews and the Arabs in the region added to the beginnings of the conflict. 

In Episode Two – we see how Palestinian nationalism arose in the 1920s as a result of the British pro-Zionist policies, especially the Balfour Declaration. It is interesting to learn about the Brit Shalom group which recognized the Arab nation living in Palestine and suggested that we live in peaceful equality.  But the volatile and intertwined issues of religion and nationality didn’t make that vision a possibility.  The riots of 1929 in Jerusalem and Hebron were a turning point and the film uses archival footage – from then and now – to illustrate the explosive nature of developments in the region. Thus the viewer can see that the nature of the conflict, which began back in the 1920s, continues to this very day.

Tangled Roots is available from Go2Films. 

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