Monday, June 07, 2004

Some artsy stuff

This weekend I attended a film as part of the Brooklyn Museum's film festival. The tickets were free, as was the museum. The museum is free after 5PM on the first Saturday of each month. It is a really good museum. It is a pity the museum is not better known. They had some great exhibits.

The documentary, Alive in Limbo unfortunately was awful. The directors, who gave a short Q and A afterward were, obviously quite unintelligent, though the audience made them seem like a couple of Einsteins by comparison. The documentary itself had a lot of potential. It took five seemingly random Muslim children from Lebanon, a mixture of citizens and "refugees" and tried to give a small inkling of their lives, and how difficult it was.

That alone would have made for a good documentary. There are really crappy lives being lived in Lebanon, especially in the refugee camps, and they really do deserve our help. Unfortunately for the children, no one new will get that from this documentary.

The real goal of the documentary was to blame Israel for all the problems of the children in the camps. The only lines in the movie that really managed to make it on to the screen, as well as the editor's only bits of history that are ever mentioned in the film are the bits that deal with Israel's role in the problem.

The first part of the film takes place about a year or two after the 15-year long Lebanese civil war. Israel played roughly a 15 week roll in that, about half-way through the war, and naturally that is the only bit mentioned. From the film you would think never guess that Lebanon had anything to do with the awfulness that much of the country lived in during and after the war. Afterward I asked one of the directors why Lebanon's role was omitted and she claimed that the Lebanese editor took it out. (Jordan and the Palestinians' role in starting the civil war was of course not mentioned.)

The whole thing was to show you people who were hurt by Lebanon's poor economy and civil problems, as well as Israel's (and the Arab world's) original displacement of the Palestinians, and the Arab world's agreement to mistreat Palestinians indefinitely, and have everyone blame Israel.

If I were not the caring type, I would simply assume that this whole movie was just a propaganda flick, and assume that there are no children with bad lives, and Lebanon must be a great place. Obviously they have no interest in the facts, so it is just another piece of anti-Israel nonsense. (Though I do know better, and I do care, so I can tell you that Palestinians do lead crappy lives, and if only the Arab world were not full of people like. . . well, Arabs, they would be much better off.)

So my final say here is that if you hate Israel, and facts do not concern you much, this is probably a good film to see.

(Update It has been noted lately quite a bit that the major focus for Palestinians has been the right of return. Common sense tells us that for the Palestinians to have the right to return to Israel effectively creates three states with Palestinian majorities, Israel, Jordan, and Palestine. It is also obvious to all that sooner or later there will be an autonomous state of Palestine. So it is obvious why the propaganda is where it is. There is a strong interest in ending the state of Israel. It can hardly be about anything else.)

Secondly, while I rarely endorse these lefty artsy projects, and I am not endorsing this one, I'd like to put in a plug for some art festival in Tel Aviv, specifically an exhibit by Licht and Stern's video comics. (One of them is a friend.)

I wish I could be there though. It has been a while since I visited.

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