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Promises

 
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Busara
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Joined: 23 May 2004
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Location: The Netherlands

PostPosted: Wed Sep 20, 2006 10:33 pm    Post subject: Promises Reply with quote

You can call me a sensitive fool, but some films really do get to me. Spielberg is one of these directors that know how to tell stories that both entertain and touch your soul, and for me it was this director who really opened me up for senstive and dramatic films. I have always been fascinated by the way people handle their hopes, desires, the wishes deep in their hearts. Their feeling for adventure, to go and do something that seems impossible. It's not an surprise that I fell in love with Spielberg's line of work.

Seeing independent films and diving into worldcinema plunged me into a deep cinematic well, and it's a rewarding swim. Because of suggestions offered by certain Come Away members I dived into some solid documentary-type films, and this is exactly were I found one of the most moving films I've ever experienced.



"Promises" is an extremely well-made and dramatic documentary by American Israeli B.Z. Goldberg. For about five years, Goldberg has been moving around Jerusalem and its surroundings - finding and observing the strong difficulties that scar everyday life in that area. The constant suffering and conflict seems to make life impossible, but still there's this wonderful thing that gives hope : the way children think and do.

After giving us a brief and honest overview of what is happening, what is causing the complex conflict, Goldberg introduces us to seven Palestinian and Israeli children from various sections of the conflicting areas. Their opinions of eachother seem set in stone during their initial lighthearted interviews: most really don't seem to offer eachother a helping hand, blaming eachother instead for troubles caused. Especially heartbreaking are some children's statements that "it is impossible to meet such children".

But then, an amazing thing is put into motion: Goldberg succeeds in arranging a meeting for the children. And this opens up a world of possibilities - or does it? It seems like an impossible thing as cultural boundaries are huge and conflict apparantly prevents these people from viewing eachother as equal individuals. But Goldberg prevails and brings them together.

What happens then is magic. The boundaries and conflict appears gone, the children are all equal, having a great time with one another. Even the children that appeared most reluctant towards meeting 'those other kids' are melting before the camera. Even talking about their personal differences works well, and the feeling op hope that is displayed is unforgettable.

"Promises" is an important documentary that really works well as a small film. There is much to be learned, its characters are real and complex. There is much difference between them, yet this gap appears fixable indeed.

The film is powerful, highly moving. I believe it's almost impossible not be affected by the heart that's in this film. Especially since it deals about children who so seem to have the courage and will to deal with personal differences and difficulties, overcoming hardship and turning the world into a better place as a result.

Unfortunately life is life - and it's more complex than meets the young eyes. And we know it's not going to be as simple as that. But the power of children working on a solution is something not be missed.

"Promises" is a must-see.
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Ronnievb



Joined: 28 Mar 2006
Posts: 141

PostPosted: Fri Sep 22, 2006 9:02 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'll be sure to have a look into this one, Busara. It sure looks "promising" (stupid joke). But then again, I do not think it will happen to soon since this documentary is not so common available as you might want it to be. I looked for it in the local videostore and on the internet, but it seems this small little film doesn't get much attention by the mass media.

If I stumble across it one day, I'll be sure to rent, buy or to do whatever necessary to see what you are so ecstatic about.
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user



Joined: 11 Oct 2005
Posts: 395

PostPosted: Fri Sep 22, 2006 10:50 am    Post subject: pROMISES Reply with quote

Busara,I ordered my copy yesterday and I am excited and am interested in seeing it.The one thing that jumps out at me is the 2001 date so the work is going to be more in my mind a look at a pre 9-11 outlook in the context of a historic piece of a certain time and place.My conversations with a friend of mine in Israel, who moved there from the U.S. in the 1970's, has informed Israel herself has increasing lost confidence in the possibility that her neighbors will ever grant her the right to exist.The period up to 9-11 seemed to have offered a "Promise" but I am more doubtful now that than I was when I became politically minded of the events there a generation ago-one can only hope as history does teach us history suprises and events often 360 in a opposite direction.
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Busara
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PostPosted: Fri Sep 22, 2006 4:04 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ronnie, dvdoutlet is currently having Promises in stock. Don't try ordering it at bol.com - I tried that but one week later I was sent an e-mail containing "we can't order this anymore". I've always felt it is stupid for a webshop to allow a customer to order something that will never be available. dvdoutlet has the DVD for € 13.75 though - very much worth the money!

It's going to be a tough situation indeed user. At the very end of the film the kids from the film are interviewed again (following the 5-year span the director has been following them around), and some of them are indeed sad to report it's hard to make these promises happen.. Perhaps it will sadly take many generations for the conflict to be resolved.
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user



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PostPosted: Thu Sep 28, 2006 10:41 am    Post subject: Promises Reply with quote

Busara,I owe you a big thankyou for bringing this film to my attention and I intend to share it as much as I can.I found the film moving and spirtually deep.I fell in love particularly with Yarko and Danielle Solan most of all as these two boys ultimately took the biggest leap of all and took the greatest risk to reach out.One can see the the seeds of hatred begin as all human hate when people begin with hurting each other as we have seen so many times in history and the only receipe for peace is love born out a desire to look after each others needs.One problem I saw though with the film was for the most part these children were all extraordinairy and not one of them was what I would call "adverge".In such a world peace is much more possible where individuals have the characteristics of loving homes,high intelligence,insight and curosity.Most of these children were more articulate and insightful than most of the adults I have meet and I think not only in that part of Israel but the world itself. This project should continue every few years as much has changed in these last 8 years and many more questions need to be explored.The film dwells mostly on the land but it appears that another issue is a crisis in Islam itself which is undergoing some sort of internal struggle not only with Jews but within itself between Sunni and Shite and with other religions such as Hinduism.The one thing I have drawn is love is the begining place of all spirtuality and where hate is God cannot be.Words often fail,politics fails,but kindness and love speaks to all human hearts and it is there and there alone hope rest in individual acts of kindness.
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Busara
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PostPosted: Sat Sep 30, 2006 10:27 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm very happy that you loved the film user. I'm also kind of honoured that you followed my recommendation and decided to purchase the DVD. I remember purchasing Ivanovo detstvo (My name is Ivan) following your review, and i fell in love with that excellent Russian film. It just really makes me happy you fell in love with Promises as well.

The situation in the documentary's area is indeed growing more uncertain as the years go by. What really hurt me when watching the film was the hope these kids showed when they got together on their almost impossible meeting. It's just heartbreaking to see that the many differences that have been shaped during the many previous generations affects their friendship so much. Sad

I hope with you that a Promises project will continue to be held, bringing hope to the next generation of people that can ultimately bring everyone together in time.
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user



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PostPosted: Sun Nov 11, 2007 9:06 pm    Post subject: 3RD VIEWING Reply with quote

I can't believe after having the dvd for a year I missed viewing the extras on the dvd! Woww,the follow-up in 2004 was very interesting-I especially liked the alternative opening for the film.Watching the 2004 follow-up with these kids was interesting in that I notice the kids with the most extreme views had mellowed the most while the kids who had intially seemed the most open and flexible in considering their world views became the most guarded and fustrated in the complexities of the issue of being a Jew or Arab and Jewish/Arab relations/non-relations.Watching the film for the 3rd time allowed me to see how much I had missed the first time-each viewing seems to reveal a little more.
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