On Sunday I went to the Jewish Film Festival at the Nickelodeon theater. The film festival covers the difficult topics of hatred, religious intolerance, human suffering and injustices heaped on oppressed peoples. Knowing about the film festival and attending each year is one of those things that I’m glad I am aware of but wish I could just turn a blind eye to. Many people do and that’s why not much change happens but for the people who can’t make themselves ignore the facts or shirk away from responsibilities, life can be kind of depressing and overwhelming. Ultimately, I’m glad that I am passionate about things and have my own thoughts but at this point in my life it mostly serves as a frustration because my awareness/passion doesn’t really mean anything or matter, besides from affecting me. Sometimes being sensitive has its drawbacks. But I also know that I am not alone. And that my awareness may someday lead to empowerment to act. The film we saw represented this.Titled A Bottle in the Gaza Sea is about a girl in Jerusalem who sends a bottle out to sea in Gaza, 75 km apart. A Palestinian boy finds it and they start interacting on email. The film explores the initial reactions-she is seeking peach and an understanding of what is causing all of the strife between the two peoples and he is reacting to both all he has been taught about hating Jews as well as the life he is experiencing. As the story progresses, the walls of hatred start to break down-the girl has a privileged life yet is always at risk due to the Palestinians random acts of violence whereas the boy has such a difficult life with no work and total domination by the Israelis-yet through the efforts of the girl, the humanness of the issues are revealed and a face of reality emerges. There was really no conclusion in the end, both sides aggravate the fight and these two main character’s brief interaction at the end of the movie leaves no closure. But the message of hope, enacted through a simple gesture of respect and caring, makes us believe that with more human connection, these 2 peoples can get along. What I struggle with is what good will come from my awareness? I consider myself pretty liberal, accepting, non-violent,yet often times think many stereotypes hold true. I felt like the film portrayed more sympathy for the Palestinians (and I sense the world does too) and portrayed the Israelis as the monster, despite the fact that Jerusalem is a more peaceful, civil society compared to Gaza. I obviously can’t say for sure but I really doubt that the Palestinians are doing what the Jewish do. I don’t think that they are having Jewish Film Festivals and trying to get their people to see both sides. There is no easy answer or solution but even I, who am not physically affected, am frustrated. Why can’t both sides see a bigger picture and strive for change when everyone is getting hurt? Each side says they are fighting for peace but that really is an oxymoron, isn’t it? Seeing this film partly makes me feel a little hopeless about my future-what will be my message in a bottle-what will I dedicate my life’s passion to…..
Film Festival March 12, 2013