Back in 2017, Hollywood actress Kate Winslet starred in a movie calledThe Mountain Between Us, directed by palestinian Arab film-maker Hany Abu-Assad. I am not sure whether this experience helped shape her opinion on the Arab-Israeli conflict, but either way, she seems to be on Team Wrong Side of History.
The horror and misery of the Gaza conflict, and the 11-day bombing campaign by Israel in 2021, is reflected upon in this grim documentary codirected by the Palestinian film-maker Mohammed Sawwaf and Britain’s Michael Winterbottom. The assault was triggered by Israeli security forces taking up positions on Temple Mount and in the Palestinian Sheikh Jarrah district of East Jerusalem; Hamas fired rockets when they did not withdraw, and Israel responded with overwhelming military force. During the bombardment more than 250 Palestinians were killed, including over 60 Palestinian children (with an estimated 13 people on the Israeli side, said its officials, including two children).
This film sets out to memorialise the Palestinian children who were killed There are heart-wrenching interviews with the families, with translations narrated by Kate Winslet, and surviving family members are asked to pose for a sombre “portrait” tableau, from which some adults break away, their faces in their hands, unable to control their tears. There are also unbearably grim mortuary shots of the children’s dead bodies, which have earned this film its 18 certificate.
I wonder if the reviewer decided that
The assault was triggered by Israeli security forces taking up positions on Temple Mount and in the Palestinian Sheikh Jarrah district of East Jerusalem; Hamas fired rockets when they did not withdraw, and Israel responded with overwhelming military force
or he learned this garbage from the documentary itself. I suspect the latter, because it is clearly a biased, one-sided, and highly inaccurate documentary. While the director claims this was not about blaming anyone, it is clear who he blames. Not to mention the fact he keeps comparing Gaza to the Ukraine.
Gaza has seen many invasions and bombing assaults over the years, and a lot of death. Was there anything about this particular conflict that made you want to do something?
I’d say more than the fact that it has happened before, that was perhaps itself more of a motive. It felt like if people remembered or imagined what it would be like to be in Gaza and being bombed — or being in Ukraine and being bombed or being in Yemen and being bombed, it’s the same experience wherever you are — it will make it less likely to happen again. The fact that periodically this happens in Gaza is one of the things that seems so terrible about it. It’s happened before and ideally would never happen again, so I suppose the point of any story about remembrance is trying to hope that it doesn’t happen again.
In the trailer and synopsis, the word “Israel” doesn’t appear at all, and I think it’s only used one or twice in the film. It felt very deliberate. What was the reason for not naming who was dropping the bombs?
It’s made from the point of view of people in Gaza. The starting idea was to focus on the families who have lost children and remembering those children, remembering their love for them, remembering what they miss about them and how their lives will never be the same again. My mum lost her first child and I think, however you lose a child, it’s the same grief, it’s the same experience. Obviously, this is very specifically about Gaza. But also, it would be the same experience in Ukraine, the same experience in Yemen, the same experience in Iraq when we were bombing Iraq, the same experience in Libya when we were bombing Libya. I suppose it was trying to keep the focus on not blaming someone, but on the children themselves, and for it not to be an angry film.
When Gaza was being bombarded last year, it felt like there were more people than usual from the public and the entertainment industry — people who hadn’t spoken out before — calling for the fighting to end. Was this something you noticed?
Yeah, I was aware that there were more people calling for the conflict to end. I think there were definitely more public voices speaking out against it. On the other hand, if you compare the reaction to the bombing in Gaza to the bombing in Ukraine, it’s a very different reaction.
I somehow doubt the documentary will blame Hamas for anything.
But how do I know this is almost certainly a vile, anti-Israel hate-fest full of inaccuracies and lies, without having seen it?
Also the trailer is revealing:
Two of the children appearing at the begining
had siblings who were almost certainly killed by misfired Hamas rockets, not Israel.
Also note how everything is shot for maximum emotional impact. You no doubt won’t see scenes of terrorists, or people handing out sweets after a terror attack.
Sympathizing with Gazan children does not alone make one a bad person or anti-Israel. But promoting this garbage does.