Hi there blog friends,
Our college has one great library with lots of books, magazines, movies… I adore movies, and when it comes to renting one from the school, I always took a film on my “to watch” list or something that I either heard of or was recommended. But this Friday, I saw a Cd on the documentary section that catched my attention for being an open question, and not a regular one. Would you have sex with an arab? I’m an arab (with little Berbers blood of course since Moroccans are most of the times a mixed race between Berbers and arabs), so the answer sounds pretty obvious, but I wondered what would ‘other’ people think of it. Based on the “Charlie hebdo” madness going on in France this week and all the islamophobia running in the air, I thought I could really use to publish a little review of the movie on my blog. The film is by Yolande Zauberman, a french film director and movie screenwriter, with her film “Me Ivan, you Abraham”, she won the Youth Award at the 1993 Cannes Film Festival, and the Golden St. George at the 18th Moscow International Film Festival. In 2011, with the movie I’m talking to you guys about at the moment, she was selected at the Venice International Film Festival.
A journey through the night, from encounter to encounter, from the bars of Tel-Aviv to the back-alleys of Jerusalem. We’re embarking on a magic carpet. Inside night-clubs people dance, laugh, have fun. Dawn breaks to the sound of an outdoor rave party. Jews, Arabs, all citizens of a same country.Israel.
With no wall to separate them. One Israeli out of five is Arab…However… A simple question is enough to take everyone by surprise. To some: “Would You Have Sex With an Arab?” To others: “Would You Have Sex With An Israeli Jew?” They don’t expect that. Unsettled, they laugh, hesitate, improvise, and are even surprised by their own reactions. Many hadn’t even thought about it. To be together? An invisible barrier appears. But desire too. Maybe…
– Written by Screenrunner / Yolande Zauberman
Very ‘hand-made’ and amateur’, the documentary is extremely simple, almost feeling like an intimate conversation we would’ve had in a night club, after too many drinks and some mid-life existencial crisis. What I especially liked is how surprised some people she asks get when they discover their answer is actually quite racist, and that their entire answer is based on pre made judgements. The Israelo-Palestinian conflict is deeper, and more complicated than most people think. People are affected in both sides; maybe they do die in Gaza, but in Tel-Aviv, they die inside as well. Some stories are touching, they give a better idea about the situation in Israel than any media could give, and even if some interviewees reject even the idea of an Arab and Jew making love or being in a relationship, but enough people prove that such events occur more often than the world thinks. By taking one of the most complex regional dispute in global history and breaking it down to the most base human act, Zauberman clears the battlefield of all the complications that have gotten in the way of peaceful, meaningful conversation. Her film doesn’t dictate an important course of action or profess wisdom, but it certainly asks one very important question. In the end, the question is more “Would you have sex with someone different from you, someone your culture and country sees as an enemy? Would love overcome hate, war and conflicts?”…
Though it touches on issues such as sex, love and relationships, the material’s recurring theme is political. By turning a faceless, unknown enemy into real people with emotions and opinions, Zauberman accumulates material that suggests harmony and understanding might be possible. It’s not a revolutionary insight, perhaps, but still one that remains necessary. The mention of immigrant Maghrebi Jews, relationships with Christian Arabs and plain old foreigners further underlines the complexities of the sociopolitical patchwork that is the Middle East.