Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Movie Review: A Bottle in the Gaza Sea

I have been looking for a good movie and I found one.

A Bottle in the Gaza Sea was released in 2011, but it feels like it was just released given it's about Israel and Gaza and the political situation in these places have not changed. It's remarkable --- the movie was probably filmed five years ago but the movie deals with suicide bombings, retaliatory bombings, in other words, the same events that are going on right now in Gaza and Israel are shown in the movie. At times, A Bottle in the Gaza Sea felt like a documentary film in it's depiction of the life in Gaza and Israel.

The film's premise is this: a young French-Israeli girl throws a bottle into the sea with a message asking for an explanation to a bomb attack on a local cafe in Jerusalem. A young Palestinian man answers her. An email friendship follows between these two unlikely characters. (I will add here that the film is not depressing.)

Perhaps the current war between Israel and Gaza makes this movie more poignant, but the movie allows the viewers to have a personal look into how the war affects lives of  Israelis and Palestinians in Gaza. The contrast between the two lifestyles is startling, and more so when one considers there is a mere 56.3 miles separating Gaza from Jerusalem. Israel is developed with cafes, nice apartments, and its infrastructure in place. Gaza is war-torn and reeks of poverty, a place without jobs nor future for its young men.

In 2008 I visited Bethlehem, which is a Palestinian city in the central West Bank, and I had seen how blighted it was. I took the following pictures which show stores that are closed, streets that are in disrepair and which look abandoned, and banners showing pictures of some martyrs. It was also during this visit when I witnessed how rough the Israeli police/guards were in their treatment of a Bangladeshi-American student. I will not repeat the story; here is the link to that account.

My point in bringing up my 2008 visit, in connection with the movie, is that I feel sympathy for the Palestinians in Gaza and the West Bank. In the current war going on in Gaza, I am not sure Hamas is doing the civilian population a favor by not stopping their lobbing of rockets to Israel. On the other hand, I do not blame Israel for wanting to protect themselves. So there you are -- it's another one of those complicated situations that can make one crazy.

In these crazy-making situations I like to remember what St. Thomas More said:  Finally, it isn't a matter of reason; finally it's a matter of love.

Bigger weapons are not the answer. Somehow, if Love could be injected into the Israel-Gaza equation (and other places of strife as well), maybe, maybe Peace can follow.

The movie, A Bottle in the Gaza Sea, demonstrates how love in the midst of such fierce hatred, can alter lives.  It's a beautiful film and I highly recommend it.

Read also
The Holy Land
Jerusalem - #3
Jerusalem - #4
Muslims Condemn ISIS

tags: Israel, Gaza, Middle East, movie, review, film, A Bottle in the Gaza Sea

This is all for now,

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