Friday, August 3, 2007

Jason goes to Jewfest--Thursday, Aug. 2

Two more movies, this was the night of crossing the Israeli-Palestinian border.

First up was "Bubble" by Eytan Fox, the gay Israeli director of "Yossi & Jagger". I've never actually seen an Eytan Fox movie before, but I've heard he's a talented filmmaker. And after seeing "Bubble", I believe it. The bubble of the title refers to the neighborhood of Tel Aviv that's sort of a cross between Greenwhich Village and Castro Street, the gay bohemian, very liberal neighborhood. Noam, Yali, and Lulu share a flat there. Lulu is a peppy (and straight) aspiring fashion designer. Yali is a silly coffee shop manager. And Noam is a moody record store clerk and the only one of them who hasn't refused military reserve duty. There he meets Ashraf, a Palestinian who can't legally stay in Israel. Still, after they hook up, Noam convinces his roommates to take him in and give him a fake Jewish name. Politics and love collide, and with all the contradiction there's bound to be tragedy. And the inevitable occurs when Ashraf has to return to the Palestinian territories for his sister's wedding (to a local Hamas leader). With all the tragedy to follow, it's still a slick, fast moving political-romantic drama-tragi-comedy that I understand is Eytan Fox's forte. Very well done, I'll have to check out more of his work.

And finally there was the wonderful documentary, "Knowledge is the Beginning". Daniel Barenboim is a very talented Jewish conductor and pianist. He lives mostly in Berlin but is an Israeli citizen. In the early 1990's he met the Palestinian literary professor (at Columbia University) Edward Said. They became friends and founded the West-Eastern Divan Orchestra, a student orchestra for Israelis and Arabs together. Their goal is to bridge the gap and promote understanding between Israelis and Palestinians. This documentary follows their inspirational story from shortly after their founding up to their 2005 concert in Ramallah. A remarkable story, and an equally remarkable movie which is simultaneously a series of concert movies and a documentary about Barenboim, Said, and the use of music as a a political tool.

And that was Thursday, and now I'm all caught up. Just in time to see 4 or 5 more movies tomorrow (depending on if I'm successful at getting rush tickets for "Sweet Mud").

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