Thursday, July 27, 2006

Avenge but one of my two eyes

The story of Masada seems important to Israel. The Jewish revolt and military operations against Roman occupation is used as a historical precedent for a Jewish military tradition. The despair of the garrison under siege is an inspiration for Jews to never allow such a situation to be repeated. And the suicide of the garrison also requires special explanation with respect to Jewish anti-suicide theology.

The story of Samson is an even older story of Jewish strength followed by defeat, then despair and finally revenge through suicide. Samson killed more people with his suicide than he did while alive. This great Jewish hero is also remembered in Israel today through the education system, through pilgrimages and as political inspiration.

This is a documentary tells these two stories punctuated with fragments of a long rambling phone call between the film maker and an almost suicidal Palestinian friend, scenes of interactions between Israeli soldiers and Palestinian coming home from school, plough fields, going to hospital etc.

The film maker goes no further than that though he certainly isn’t pulling his punches.

Ian’s Rating 4/5 Anne's rating:4/5

1 comment:

  1. One of the great things about this film was its cleverly layered structure. The maker made numerous trips to Masada and filmed tour giudes and teachers talking about what happened there and discussing how Jewish people feel about those events and others in Jewish history. Each speaker was more extreme than the the previous one, and just when you thought that you'd already heard the most over-the-top opinion possible, you were proved wrong - again.