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I hope we stay friends...ya know...so we don't have to grow up and kill each other...

I hope we stay friends...ya know...so we don't have to grow up and kill each other...

PG-13?

B.Z. Goldberg, Moishe Bar Am, Sanabel Hassan, Faraj Adnan Hassan Husein, Mahmoud Mazen Mahmoud Izhiman, Schlomo, Daniel Solan, Yarko Solan

Either Yarko or Daniel (they’re twins): When I see them being killed, I ask myself, “why?”  It’s so stupid.  It could be prevented.  In war, both sides suffer.  Maybe there’s a “winner”, but what’s a winner?  People on BOTH sides die.  Both sides lose.

A documentary following 7 Jewish and Palestinian children over a period of a few years.  We see them discuss their beliefs about those they’ve been told are their enemies, and eventually we see some of them actually meet each other face to face.

Despite a little bit of a slow start, this movie really packs a punch in the final third of its running time.  Watching these children meet each other and become fast friends makes your heart swell while simultaneously breaking.  There’s hope in their realization that they’re not so different from each other, but there’s despair in the knowledge that they won’t be able to keep meeting up.  As they grow older, the hateful rhetoric that has formed their early opinions will most likely take over again, causing this conflict to go on and on.

As usual, you have to take into account how manipulative the makers of the documentary are trying to be by what’s included and what’s not included.  But, it seemed like the twins, Yarko and Daniel, were the voices of reason most of the time.  It also happened that they were the ones described as secular.  They don’t like being around very religious people, and their own lack of religious conviction seems to help them not have any kind of hatred for Palestinians.  As for the kids that do believe in their respective religious claims to the land, it’s odd to hear such young people parroting things they’ve heard from their parents without really having a firm grasp on just what they’re saying.

Some of the points made here probably could have been made just once, rather than hammering them home over and over.  That is to say, the movie seemed a little too long, especially in the first half.  For instance, after the first couple of scenes at the check points, we get the idea that they won’t let certain people into Israel, but Jews are allowed to pass back and forth with no hassle.  But it felt like we kept revisiting this idea again and again, long after the impact of the scenes had run their course.

That aside, this is obviously an important film.  It may not be monumental in it’s observation that children have a certain innocence that, if not clouded by bigotry and hate, could lead to peace some day, but it presents it in an interesting and easily accessible way.  It makes you wish there was an easy way to present this idea to the adults who do all the fighting.  You all were kids once…and you probably would’ve been fast friends if you ever could have met.

Kids will believe whatever they’re told by their elders, until they experience otherwise.

10 – .4 for the slow beginning – .3 for being a little jumbled at times – .6 for being slightly overlong = 8.7