After six decades of futility, maybe it's time for a new approach to achieving peace between Israelis and Palestinians. Some of the films in this year's Boston Jewish Film Festival offer solutions that sound a little crazy, except when you consider the alternatives.
For example, if negotiations between the living don't work, how about conferring with the dead? In Marco Carmel's flaky but irresistible My Lovely Sister (2011; screens November 15 @ 7 pm, West Newton Cinema) Rahma has disowned her younger sibling, Mary, after she marries an Arab. Or is it because she suspects that her husband Robert has the hots for Mary and maybe had an affair with her? Either way, Rahma tells her sister she's "dead" to her, which becomes complicated when Mary drops dead for real and her ghost haunts her — and flirts with Robert. Carmel takes this variation on The Ghost and Mrs. Muir, addles it with folklore and schmaltz, and ends up with a spectral vindication of love and forgiveness.
If the supernatural doesn't do the trick, how about another medium: the Internet? The title vessel in Thierry Binisti's poignant and complex A Bottle in the Gaza Sea (2010; screens November 10 @ 7 pm, Coolidge Corner) contains a letter from Tal, a teenage Israeli girl, to any Palestinian who finds it. Naïm, a teenager in Gaza City, retrieves the note, and at first he responds with sarcasm. But their exchange deepens, just in time for the Israeli attack on Gaza, Operation Cast Lead, to threaten their fragile connection with suspicion and hostility. Binisti's premise may sound naïve at first, but it sure beats hatred, fear, death, and destruction.
THE 24TH BOSTON JEWISH FILM FESTIVAL | November 7-19 at Coolidge Corner + Museum of Fine Arts + Somerville + West Newton + Arlington Capitol + Suburbs
, Boston Jewish Film Festival