To watch Chuck Norris in an 80’s B-series movie spitting food at and insulting derogatively the whole Arab and Muslim world produces a mixture of astonishment and embarrassment. It’s one of the 1000 films that director Jaqueline Reem Salloum, American of Palestinian and Syrian descent and resident in New York, has edited to create a short film showing the generalized negative image depicted by Hollywood when it deals with the Arabs. Out of those 1000 films, 12 of them projected positive images, 53 neutral, and the rest, an unquestionable majority, negative images associated with violence and inhumanity. Supported by a metal rock soundtrack whose noise gets confounded with the unavoidable terrorists’ bullets, it is a healthy and sarcastic critical approach to a Western consolidated mirage, understood this concept as “negative and distorted opinions of the Other valuing their culture as inferior”.
The former was the introduction (in the Palestinian film festival in Madrid) to a Palestinian-Israeli documentary about the occupation in a small village, Bil’in, in Cisjordania or West Bank, which shows the human side of a community, removed of their farming lands little by little by means of a wire fence, and the complexity of Israeli politics, where many factions coexist, some of them against the illegal –even by Israeli law standards- occupation of lands by Orthodox Jewish settlers. Emad shows 5 broken cameras, each of which represents a period in his life, distributed between family and the filmed denouncement of the soldiers’ harassment to the activists claiming back their lands. Although the community eventually manages to win the legal fight in court and the fence is finally dismantled, the future of those traditional communities in a growing Israeli population avid for land doesn’t predict a peaceful future. Maybe what is require the sooner the better is an agreed land “divorce”, as Israeli columnist and writer Ari Sahvit puts it, although he doesn’t hide the difficulties of the decision: “If Israel does not retreat from the West Bank, it will be politically and morally doomed, but if it does retreat, it might face an Iranian-backed and Islamic Brotherhood-inspired West Bank regime whose missiles could endanger Israel’s security.”
The election of the title by the short film’s director is, no doubt, referring to Charlton Heston’s movie. Each reader of this blog can try to interpret the intertextualities suggested by her.
I can’t understand why Mr. Heston’s name appears in the title of this article. The actor’s name isn’t mentioned even once; or are my eyes getting bad? Yes, he acted in “The Planet of Apes” but just the title of the movie would be sufficient to get the message accross.