Every January, Tucson hosts an International Jewish Film Festival, and I haven’t been for years because I haven’t lived here and I was never visiting in mid-January because of school schedules. So it’s been nice to be home this year. I’ve seen two films thus far and will hopefully catch another one or two. The first was called Mr. Kaplan and is pretty strange in its approach to humor, but it was cool to revisit Jewish Uruguay, since I spent a summer there doing a Hillel study abroad program.
A Palestinian-Israeli boy named Eyad is sent to a prestigious boarding school in Jerusalem, where he struggles with issues of language, culture, and identity.
[That poster is stupid, because the main character is the boy in the middle, not the girl. She’s cool and all, but she’s just the girlfriend. (That’s very antifeminist of me, but really, she’s not a focalizer at all, just a character interacting with the protagonist.) And if it’s not clear, this boarding school, being prestigious and in Jerusalem and all, is a place where non-Jews are not super welcome]
You never have to say much beyond “boarding school” to get me to want to read or watch something. And add in a fish-out-of-water story with actual substance instead of some sort faux outcast (y’know, the girl who thinks she’s so humble and boring and quirky because she listens to the Smiths and needs a boy to tell her how pretty she is) setup, throw in a pointed microaggressions, and force me to perk my ears up by listening to multiple foreign languages, and you’ve got me.
You may know I wrote an article about Israel recently that spurred some….reactions. (Generally speaking, people who found out about the article via Facebook pegged me a narcissistic bitch, and people on Twitter were supportive.) So it was pretty fitting that a week after it printed, I would go see a movie that might confirm my biases against what I felt was a lot of hypocrisy on the part of Jewish Israelis or that might just make me see a kindred, bicultural spirit, or that would do something else entirely. Continue reading