Thursday, May 5, 2011

Susya and The Hilltops

These two movies were on a double bill at Hot Docs and put forward two views of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. 

The Hilltops interviewed a number of people living in the infamous Israeli settlements, on the hill tops in Gaza.  With zealous commitment, the settlers argue for Israel's right to own this land and are fierce in their determination to stay in the settlements.  We see a crew of men with tools erecting the frame of a new home, until the arrival of the Israeli Defence Forces, who tear down the walls and arrest all the men.  Soon after, the women return, and raise the walls, and hammering the nails in place with rocks.  

The Canadian director said that he had been criticized for not sufficiently demonizing the settlers, but his intent was to let them speak for themselves and let the audience come to their own conclusion.  It's harder to be engrossed in a film that has no particular narrative thrust.  Although interesting, I didn't find it particularly captivating.

Susya was a short 15 minute film that should have been shorter!  A Palestinian father and son return to their home village which is now an Israeli archaeological site.  Israeli police appear, and tell them they're not allowed, despite their having bought tickets.  The shot of the father walking down the road, with the Israeli military vehicle following him menacingly, ran way too long for my taste.

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