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Promises Review

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Child’s eye view of the Palestinian question, in the months before the 2000 Intifada.

★★★★★

The role of the documentarist in presenting ‘found’ material in the most impartial manner comes under scrutiny in this unsettling child’s eye view of the Palestinian question, in the months before the 2000 Intifada. As both co-director and on-screen interlocutor, B.Z. Goldberg has too much say in shaping the opinion of his subjects, most notably during the sequence in which he takes Israeli brothers to a refugee camp outside Jerusalem to meet with Arab kids they would never normally encounter.

Ironically, real life wins: the makers’ contention that dialogue and a recognition of cultural similarities would help solve a religious dispute is undermined by the finale, in which entrenched attitudes are shown to have taken an even firmer grip on these briefly malleable minds.