Promises | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader


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Timely and informative, this 2001 documentary profiles Israeli and Palestinian children living in and around Jerusalem, near one another but worlds apart. Filmmakers Carlos Bolado, Justine Shapiro, and B.Z. Goldberg shot much of their footage between 1997 and 2000, before the second intifada, and like eager mediators they travel back and forth, from Arab East Jerusalem to Jewish West Jerusalem, from the Western Wall to a Palestinian refugee camp. Goldberg, an American who spent his childhood in Israel, serves as a brother figure to the seven Palestinian and Israeli children he questions, soliciting a wide range of views, yet the children mostly adhere to their elders' opinions. Toward the end a pair of Israeli twins, the sons of liberal parents, venture into an Arab enclave and meet up with a Palestinian boy who shares their passion for soccer. Their brief moment of friendship makes a reconciliation seem possible, yet in the documentary's ambivalent coda the filmmakers pin their hopes not on this generation but on the next. In Arabic and Hebrew with subtitles. 102 min. Music Box, Friday through Thursday, May 3 through 9.

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