Saturday, June 6, 2015

100 Words On ... The Wanted 18

The Wanted 18 is part of the 2015 Human Rights Watch Film Festival. It screens on June 13 in New York City.

Scored to a lovely, plaintive soundtrack by Benoît Charest (The Triplets of Belleville), The Wanted 18 tells a true story with the deadpan surrealism of a classic fable. The cows of the title were first bought by a Palestinian collective looking to establish independence from Israel during the first intifada in part by producing and distributing their own milk, then hunted by Israeli troops for “undermining Israeli security.” The film combines animation, live-action reenactments, archival footage and simple but elegant visual metaphors, like a paper airplane folded by a pair of hands in one shot and thrown to the talking head in another to symbolize the clandestine flow of information. Its point of view shifts between a mordantly funny voiceover by co-director and illustrator Amer Shomali, beautifully shot interviews with many key players, and the cows themselves, whose increasingly hopeless situation (“We’ve been betrayed--by both Israelis and Palestinians!” says one) becomes a metaphor for the plight of the Palestinians. Written for The L Magazine

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