The Inner Tour

I got the second movie on my Blockbuster que and it is two for two, another excellent film. This too was a documentary, called The Inner Tour. It was made by an Israeli-born filmmaker Ra'anan Alexandrowicz in 2001. He took a group of Palestinians from the West Bank (one was from Gaza) on a three-day sightseeing tour through Israel. I went into the film knowing this and thus expecting to see something with, perhaps somewhat of an Israeli slant ( only at the final credits did I notice the co-producer, a Palestinian, Raed Andoni). I was soon confused because the film was primarily in Arabic and it portrayed an array of people from a very elderly man wearing a Kaffiyeh who was looking for his village that he left in 1948 to a young woman whose husband was in an Israeli prison because he shot and killed an Israeli soldier to a middle-aged woman whose husband was killed by Israeli soldiers (both of these during the Intifada) to small children who had never seen the sea before to several young men who never thought they'd be side by side with Jews. This was no ordinary Israeli documentary. The bus driver was a Jewish Israeli. The tour guide spoke Arabic, Hebrew and English. The tour took them from the very north of Israel near the Lebanese border, where they saw the grottoes, Rosh Hanikra (Hebrew: ראש הנקרה "head of the rock caves") a unique geologic formation in Israel to the Arab town of Jaffa and a few other villages and finally to Tel Aviv.

I want to say it was fascinating and it was, but that might imply taking distance from the film; a distance I don't have. Having just recently come home from a two week trip to Israel (the last of well over a dozen trips I have made since the age of 16), I am not an impartial bystander, nor an objective observer. Still my heart ached watching this documentary. I am not sure what else to say, other than what the maker of the film, Ra'anan Alexandrowicz, said at the end of it.

"A new chapter will have to be writen in the two parallel and contradicting books which reflect the history of our land."


Anonymous said...

Having not seen the movie, what did the trip do to the Palestinians? Did it lead them to have a deeper acceptance of Israel, or did seeing what Israel has accomplished since '48 only deepen their resentment?

Sherril said...

For some it made them long for what they lost. For others they seemed to be in awe. Still others noted how the Israelies only see the Arabs as murderers and people to be feared (this was after a visit to a kibbutz museum, showing how the Jews gained and built the kibbutz.) And of course there was a debree of ambivalence in each of them.
At the end, the young woman asked the middle aged woman what she would do if the soldier who killed her husband was there where they were in Tel Aviv. The other answered, something like, I'd tear him apart with my own hands. A few seconds later the young woman said, and what if the wife of the soldier my husband killed were here....he had a mother too' what would that mother and wife want to do to me?

The complications and the varied resntments and fears were shown. I reccomend that you rent the film. There was no bent to the movie. I think it pretty much showed it as it is.

Anonymous said...

Sounds great! I'm glad that they showed a variety of reactions.

tuki0621 said...

Hi Sherril,
Two friends from the National Bar Mitzvah Club say hi:
Gail Beckman and Greta Sanders were searching for pictures from our 1968 tour and found your blog.
Greta is leaving for Israel this afternoon to join her son and LIVE there!
She stopped at Gail's on her farewell tour.

Sherril said...

Hello Greta and Gail,
I don't know if you both remember, but we were in touch for a while, I think it was after I had tried to put together a Bar Mitzvah Trip Reunion, which never happened, but which did put me back in touch with a few of it's members. Wow, Greta, you are going to live in Israel. That's quite a big jump. I hope you come back to this blog and respond and perhaps send me your email addresses once again. You can do so by emailing me from my blog where it says, Contact Me. Thanks so much for getting back in touch and GOOD LUCK.