Thursday, January 29, 2009

Sundance: Pomegranates and Myrrh

I've been taking my time starting this review. Charlie and I saw the movie Pomegranates and Myrrh at Sundance last Thursday night.

Here's the thing. I like to consider myself a thoughtful, intellectual, liberal, educated sort of person who does stuff like listen to NPR for fun. And because of that, I feel like I should appreciate a film that puts a human story into the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, right? So, I've been reluctant to say this, but the truth is, I found Pomegranates and Myrrh...well, a little boring. There. The truth is out.

I wanted to like this movie more than I did. It's about a woman who is a dancer with a troupe that specializes in traditional Palestinian dance. She gets married, and then her new husband is wrongfully imprisoned by Israeli soldiers and their land is threatened by "settlers" who pitch a tent and camp out with guns. The story follows how she and her family deal with this, and also how she continues to have dance in her life and refuses to allow herself to be defined by only her husband's imprisonment. It sounds pretty good, right? But in practice, I found my mind wandered, it just wasn't that engaging to me. And I left wondering if I just didn't have enough cultural knowledge to truly understand or appreciate it. Maybe that's true. Or maybe it just wasn't a very engaging movie.

I even felt guilty for not appreciating the dancing more. I often enjoy folk dancing. But the dancing in this movie, I must admit, didn't seem that great to me, and talk about feeling culturally insensitive! But, hey, since this is already a blog confessional, I'll admit that too. I can certainly appreciate the importance of maintaining one's cultural traditions, and that is even more important if you're in a culture under pressure like the one in this film. I get it. I support it...again, in theory. And so I guess overall, I found the movie disappointing, because I wanted it to be so much better than it was, and so I felt a bit let down.

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