Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Recognition - Jewish Film Festival Düsseldorf

Movie poster of "Recognition"

One of my former roommates is also working in the field of media: She arranged the Jewish Film Festival of the Filmmuseum Düsseldorf. A while ago she asked us, whether one of the visiting artists could stay at our place for a few days, as she prefers "real people homes" to hotels. We love to have guests, getting to know each other over, but ever since I started working I have been cherishing my freetime so much, that apart from people we know, we were not hosting anybody. But the fact that Tamar didn't like staying in a hotel so much, made her seem uncomplicated and interesting. So I agreed.
Tamar Capsouto is a singer from Sderot, an Israeli city right next to Gaza. Some of her songs were included in a documentary about three women living in Israel, called "Recognition" (Hakara). Check out the trailer for the movie here. Tamar's story was really inspiring to me. She lives for what she loves, without compromises. Her voice carries all the melancholy and tragedy of the conflict in it and does not fail to make you, the listener, feel humble and a small part of something really big. We went to one of Düsseldorfs flea markets and had a really great time, as she is so full of happiness and hope, even though coming from a warzone.

One of the pictures from Tamar's blog

I went to see the movie that Sunday night and it moved me deeply. I do not know nearly enough about the conflict. The most impressive scene for me was a moment, when one of the movies heroines, Hanadi, has to run for shelter as the sirens start to roar. One second, she and her friend are chatting, the next split second, they are running. It made a deep impression on me, that split-second. How deep the constant feeling of alert must govern them. How you always have to know your nearest shelter, never being able to move carefree. I asked Tamar about it and she agreed, whenever she would move inside her city, she would know where the next bomb shelter is. Having a picnic in a park is no option for her. Still, she would never leave Sderot, as an artist she says, she has to be inside the turmoilt. She seems to see it as her mission, to write and sing about what people do to each other, her peaceful way of protesting against a violent world.
Another scene that moved me was a meeting between young Arabs and Israelis who are tired of the war they live in and it seems as if this generation might be the first to make a difference. But soon you realize that a dialogue between them is not possible, as neither side is able to forget the harm that has already been done to them. The friends and family they have lost through the counterpart's missiles have made them part of the conflict and the viewer cannot really see how these people could also be part of a solution.
A woman in the audience commented that the movie was too centered on the Arab side of the story and painted an unjust picture of Israeli Jews. I did not perceive it that way at all, showing how you always perceive it the way you are primed to. Sharon, the film's director is used to these comments and answered that a screening with a Muslim audience leads to the same reactions the other way round.

Sharon Ryba-Khan, the movie's director

Watch the movie, it might be as impressive for you as it was for me. It makes me more humble and grateful for the peaceful world I live in, even considering that Europe nowadays might not be as safe as it used to be. All the more we have to try to make it safe and peaceful.