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October 17, 2007

O Jerusalem


Elie Chouraqui ("Harrison’s Flowers") directs a self-conscious screen adaptation of the novel by Larry Collins and Dominique Lapierre about the complex time-stamped events leading up to the creation of the State of Israel in 1948. An overlong prologue introduces two American friends studying law in New York, where their Jewish and Arab backgrounds are fuel for lively debate. Bobby Goldman (J.J. Field), an Ashkenazi Jew and Said Chahin (Said Taghmaoui), an Arab from Jerusalem and the son of a great Palestinian leader, venture to Jerusalem as friends, but take opposing sides in the fight for control of Jerusalem. Elie Chouraqui makes use of archive footage to underpin the chronology of violent events leading up to British Forces turning over the key to the city to the Jews. In its struggle to present an unbiased portrait that balances Jewish and Palestinian viewpoints evenly, the film loses some narrative focus. Nevertheless, it presents a valuable history lesson that points out the dire effects of British occupation in the region.

Rated R, 102 min. (B) (Three Stars)


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