Sneak Peak into Three Documentaries from the Other Israel Film Festival

The Gatekeepers Chapter Five: An Astonishing Documentary Reveals the World of Shin Bet

Chapter Five of The Gatekeepers is a delicious appetizer of the full length Academy Award nominated documentary of the same title. Director Dror Moreh catapults and lures the viewer into the brutal world of the Israeli-Arab conflict, seen primarily through the eyes of six former captains of Shin Bet, the Israeli Secret Service. Espionage, war, and murder engulf each Shin Bet leader while they intimately disclose their feelings regarding this extremely delicate clash. The moral resolve concerning every split-second war decision they have to make hovers over their crucial life altering decisions. 

The Gatekeepers is visually divided into three clear filmmaking tracks: the aerial birds-eye footage of enemy tracking (some of it reproduced in post production with CGI); the bloody aftermath of the war on the ground; and interviews with each of the six former heads of Shin Bet (the prevalent track). This fascinating documentary wastes no time in addressing the horrific truths of this perhaps un-resolvable strife, never ceasing to show the traumatic angles of these men’s war stories, slowly uncovering this discord. The controversy of their roles is brilliantly mirrored in their confessions, one on one with the spectator, for the first time in film recorded history. 
The Gatekeepers is relevant to all documentary lovers, historians, current events and political aficionados, and espionage connoisseurs. Its detailed and secretive subject matter accompanied by a delicate filmmaking touch in sight and sound render it a uniquely intense viewing experience.        


Good Garbage: A World where Trash is Treasure

Good Garbage

Good Garbage tells the sad yet inspiring story of a trash dump in the Hebron Hills (West Bank) where hundreds of Palestinians daily collect other people’s refuse to make slight money, barely feeding their impoverished families. Local scavengers—some with university degrees—dig their way through enormous piles of rubbish to then recycle, use, and even sell other’s rejected goods. Plastic, copper, toys, and discarded food, to name a few, are a savior to their survival for the week ahead. Apart from the extremely unhealthy conditions they have to endure at the dump, these men and young boys must also face the dangers of random Israeli military controls on their wasteland. 

Good Garbage authentically grants the oppressed people of Hebron their own voice, at times bringing the viewer into their homes and exposing their intimate family life. The co-directors of this incredible story spent three years covertly filming the squalid mound. Beautiful blues and fiery orange colors hover over the scrap hills as directors Shosh Shlam and Ada Ushpiz show the sacrifices made by the region’s humble and hard working people. Despair lies over their heads but the glimmer of hope to wake up the next day and eat yet again pushes these people to have faith in life. 

Good Garbage is a cinematic and social accomplishment of its own. The filmmakers’ struggle to complete the project ironically parallels the daily fight of its subjects. The film is a splendid, horrific, yet honest new age metaphor on the serious consequences of the twenty-first century Israeli occupation of the West Bank.


Green Dreams: A View into the World of two Passionate Teenage Israeli Soccer Players

Green Dreams (courtesy of Levi Zini)

Green Dreams is a tale of the parallel lives of two aspiring professional soccer players in Israel.  Both teenagers struggle to find their way into soccer stardom and onto the Israeli national team.  Both young men—one of Ethiopian descent, the other from a small Muslim town—live through an identity clash between their own view of themselves and how they are perceived by others.  Their main struggle, however, derives from the daily sacrifices they must make to become professional football players, as well as the outside pressures coming from their fathers and soccer mentors.
One young man trains on a beach and dreams of running through the tunnel of the San Siro stadium in Milan, wearing the historic red and black striped shirt.  The other teenager, trained by his over-obsessive and controlling soccer father, dives left and right in continuum between two “goal posts” made up of four plastic chairs.  Each player will make it or break it, most likely, within the next two years.  Professional contracts are on the horizon and sports agents and psychologists already begin to slither into these boys’ lives.  Many factors will influence and possibly determine their road to living off of soccer, but only their determination will grasp their childhood dreams.
Green Dreams is a funny and at times harsh account of the great sacrifice, especially monetary, these boys and their families make for a wish that might never become a reality.  Any sports or soccer fan will enjoy this mini-universe of two young men with big green dreams.
–Marco Agnolucci        

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