9 August 2010 | Nozz
The best part is the ensemble of extras
The movie starts with a long conversation that seems written solely to enable a character to complain that the Arabs of Palestine are not recognized as a distinct nation although (contends this character, who is never seen again) they have been one for hundreds of years. It continues with a long interlude of existential/claustrophobic drama in a large house in Avignon occupied by the fresh corpse of an old professor, his frequently and unaccountably merry daughter, and his adopted son from Israel, with whom the daughter flirts. This interlude fails perhaps because the actors seldom have a line in their native language and therefore can't summon up the mojo to give the cryptic relationships interest. Then it appears that according to the old man's will, to which the daughter unsuccessfully tries to forge a change, the daughter must now go visit her own abandoned daughter who lives in Gaza in a Jewish settlement which the son already has military orders to coincidentally, at the very same time, go help dismantle. The dismantling of the settlement, re-enacted up the coast at Nitzanim, looks reasonably realistic, at least if you judge by the news footage of the time. A fairly large troupe of bit players does justice to the soldiers and the settlers, and the camera conveys the atmosphere well. As the old man's daughter meets her own daughter and they, at least briefly, lose one another again during the evacuation, is their relationship supposed to symbolize something about the political situation? Or vice versa? What do the scenes in Gaza have to do with the matters raised in the Avignon scenes? A viewer is tempted to think that perhaps Gaza was introduced for no reason but to link an otherwise boring and incomplete movie to a hot item from the recent news pages.