Deadly Currents

A thoughtful and powerful Canadian documentary about the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. The filmmaker, Simcha Jacobovici, is the son of Holocaust survivors, but he has tried very hard to make this film a nonpartisan overview of the conflict that shows some of the wisdom as well as some of the unreasoning hatred on both sidesand to an extent he has succeeded. Among the many people interviewed, my favorite is a pacifist, anarchist street performer in Tel Aviv with an Arab father and a Jewish mother who has fought at separate times on both sides. (Jacobovici’s view is wide enough to include other performing artists as well, among them an Israeli dance company and a Palestinian music ensemble.) One might question at times the use of techniques associated with fiction films (e.g., point-of-view shots and flashbacks) and the occasional tendency of the filmmakers to provoke the people they are filming, though the film is sufficiently up-front to suggest that camera crews sometimes help create the violence they record. But the overall portrait that emerges, of a society propelled by suffocating hatred and intolerance on both sides, is disquieting, intelligent, and hard to forget. 115 min. (JR)

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