From: Thomas Beard (email suppressed)
Date: Wed Aug 12 2009 - 13:38:51 PDT
220 36th Street, 5th Floor
Brooklyn, New York
Susan Sontag, 16mm, 1974, 87 mins
Tuesday, August 18, 2009 at 7:30pm
Susan Sontagšs third directorial effort and her only documentary, Promised
Lands scrutinizes the ongoing Arab-Israeli conflict and the growing
divisions within Jewish thought over the question of Palestinian
sovereignty. Shot in Israel during the final days and immediate aftermath of
the 1973 Yom Kippur War, Promised Lands is undoubtedly one of Sontagšs most
incisive examinations of contemporary Jewish consciousness, and she
considered it her most personal film.
Sontag structures the film as an antiphony between two sets of images. The
first consists of observational sequences detailing moments from modern
Israel: desert landscapes, patrols of roadside soldiers, old men and women
at the Wailing Wall, Israeli grocery stores and movie theaters, the
Jerusalem War Cemetery, a military psychiatric ward, and a wax museum
depicting the official history of the state. Intercut throughout are
conversations with two intellectuals: writer Yoram Kaniuk, a supporter of
Palestinian rights who sees Israel shifting from its socialist roots to an
American-style commercial culture, and physicist Yuval Nešeman, who argues
for the endemic nature of Arab anti-Semitism. Though the film grants no
direct access to Arab or Palestinian voices, its clear elaboration of the
debate prompted Israeli censors to ban its initial release, claiming it
would be "damaging to the country's morale." Stateside, Stanley Kaufman
praised the filmšs Hegelian quality, writing that it presents ŗnot a
struggle between truth and falsehood but between two opposing, partial
A Film Desk release.
Tickets - $7, available at door.
For info on FrameWorks, contact Pip Chodorov at <email suppressed>.