Avenge But One of My Two Eyes (Nekam Achat Mishtey Eynay)

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Documentary filmmaker Avi Mograbi draws an analogy between the Jewish mythologies of the Zealots at Masada and Samson and the ordeal of contemporary Palestinians in his documentary, Avenge But One of My Two Eyes. Mograbi intercuts footage of himself discussing politics (over the phone) with a depressed, cynical Palestinian friend (whose voice was dubbed by an actor to protect his identity) in the occupied territories, footage of Israelis giving tours to youth groups and celebrating the aforementioned myths, and footage of Palestinians dealing with the indignities of checkpoints and the capricious enforcement of seemingly arbitrary rules and regulations by Israeli soldiers. There's also a scene where the ultra-right-wing Kach Party of the late Meir Kahane holds an exuberant political rally/rock concert. Enthusiastic tour guides describe the actions of the Zealots (after the Romans had destroyed the temple in Jerusalem and built a wall around Masada, the men killed the women and children, then committed mass suicide rather than surrender) and those of Samson (who, having been shorn of his hair and blinded by the Philistines, prayed to God so that he could destroy his enemies and himself with one last surge of strength) in glowing terms, for the most part. Their actions are described as unequivocally heroic, and those telling the tales clearly do not see a parallel to the desperation of present-day Palestinian suicide bombers. Late in the film, Mograbi expresses his outrage, yelling at a group of Israeli soldiers at a checkpoint who are not letting a group of school children pass. Avenge But One of My Two Eyes was shown at the 2005 New York Film Festival, presented by the Film Society of Lincoln Center. ~ Josh Ralske, Rovi

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