This Week in New York Insider's Guide to Arts & Culture in New York City Since 2001



Documentary shows Palestinians and Israelis coming together in nonviolent protest

BUDRUS (Julia Bacha, 2009)
200 Hudson St. at Canal St.
Thursday, March 17, $12, 7:30

Written, directed, and edited by Julia Bacha, who also served as one of the producers, Budrus has been having an impact at film festivals around the world, including Sydney, Dubai, San Francisco, London, Berlin, Jerusalem, and Tribeca. The documentary follows a small group of protesters in the village of Budrus, population 1,500, as they battle the Israeli military, which has been charged with protecting construction workers who are bulldozing the people’s lifeblood, hundreds of acres of olive trees, in order to put up the wall known as the separation barrier, isolating the Palestinians in the West Bank; the “red line” also goes right through the village’s cemetery. But local leader Ayed Morrar decides to try something relatively different for the Middle East, emphasizing nonviolence and even permitting women, including his fifteen-year-old daughter, to participate in their dangerous movement. The Popular Committee Against the Wall’s mission appears destined to fail until they are joined by Jews who believe that the Israeli government needs to reconsider where they are putting up the fence and allow the Palestinians to keep their land and preserve their history. Bacha talks to people on both sides of the struggle, including the Morrars as well as Israeli soldiers Doron Spielman and Yasmine Levi, who all speak honestly about their complex situation. Made by a team of Jews and Palestinians who have formed Just Vision, an organization dedicated to bringing to light nonviolent peacebuilding efforts in the Middle East, Budrus could have easily turned into propaganda, but in the end its agenda is something difficult to argue with. The film is screening March 17 as part of the 92YTribeca monthly series “Story Leads to Action,” hosted by Peabody Award winner Judith Helfand of Chicken & Egg Pictures and Working Films, who leads postscreening discussion with filmmakers, activists, and experts examining how individuals can engage with such politically and socially sensitive films as Budrus, Susan Beraza’s Bag It (April 21), and Alexandra Codina’s Monica & David (May 19).

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