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the simple life

"One ought, every day at least, to hear a little song, read a good poem, see a fine picture, and if it were possible, to speak a few reasonable words." Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Monday, April 18, 2005

Route 181

Route 181: Fragments of a Journey in Palestine-Israel was my entry point to this year's Singapore International Film Festival.

It was 4.5 hours long and so you'll naturally like to know:

Was it worth it?

I guess that really depends on your definition of documentary. If you want an unbiased account of the Palestinian-Israeli issue, this is not it. Neither can it provide for a historical framework to understand this issue. Rather, it takes the voices of the people and allows these views to serve as commentary.

What's wrong with that? After all, isn't hearing from the people who are in the heart of it all the most important thing?

I agree it has tremendous value but this is an emotional issue and you need clear heads for this one.

Especially if you're the audience.

Because you might go away watching this and think that Jews are murderous scums and the Palestinians innocent victims. Any documentary that presents such a clear-cut picture needs to be reexamined. Its not always that simple.

I was extremely disturbed by some members of the audience who laughed loudly, derisively, mockingly at some of the Jews being interviewed. It is precisely such attitudes that prevents peace and understanding.

I do especially like the end when a Moroccan Jew, a mother whose son died in the conflict, commented: "Sharon and Arafat should be shot with their mothers."

Both sides are guilty and both need to work together before peace can come.


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