It was clear from the start that this film was intended to be something much more interesting than a standard piece of straightforward storytelling, and to a great extent it succeeded. It had an original format, being composed of fourteen longish takes in which the camera either didn’t move at all or moved very little. As far as the camerawork and editing were concerned it could almost have been a Béla Tarr film, but the similarity ended there: here we had colour, lots of dialogue and plenty of action. The alignment of the fourteen scenes with the fourteen stations of the cross wasn’t always 100% successful, but neither was it in any way annoying and it did move the film along nicely.
Ari Shavit’s ‘My Promised Land’ was a very interesting read which inspired a lot of background research, and by the time I finished it I knew a lot more about Palestine, Israel, Zionism and the whole Middle Eastern conflict than I had done when I started. I’d been given this book by my friend H., who told me it had ‘opened his eyes’ about the Israeli/Palestinian conflict and led him to his current strongly pro-Israeli position. Having now read it myself, I can’t quite understand why. Interesting though the book was, it did nothing to make me more sympathetic to Israel – quite the reverse, in fact… (more…)