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April 16, 2004 - Image 51

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 2004-04-16

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

Rollback is Extended

MONDAY & WEDNESDAY

higher wages in Israel, but his decision
to come to the "Promised Land" was
colored as well by Bible stories and
religious yearnings.
Listening to James, Alexandrowicz
said, "I realized how [Israel] had these
two existences. One abstract and fan-
tastic, and the other, a practical exis-
tence, the place I live in."
That practical Israel also is inhabited
by migrant workers — many, like
those in Shimi's fictional workforce,
from Africa, Thailand and Romania.
According the Israeli advocacy organi-
zation Kay La'Oved (Worker's
Hotline), legal and illegal migrant
workers in Israel number about
250,000 and represent some of the
country's most vulnerable residents.
Having set his film in the workers'
world, however, Alexandrowicz wants
audiences to view his film as a
metaphor for Western society — a
fable, not a documentary.
"I don't consider it to be a good film
about the subject" of migrant workers,
he said, "or even a film about the sub-
ject at all."
James'Journey stars the veteran Iraqi-
born actor Arie Elias as Sallah and the
French-trained Palestinian actor Salim
Daw as Shirai, with dialogue in
Hebrew, English and Zulu (with
English subtitles).
A graduate of the Sam Spiegel
School of Film and TV in Jerusalem,
Alexandrowicz previously turned his
camera on an unusual concentration
camp survivor in Martin (1999) and a

group of Palestinian West Bank resi-
dents sightseeing around Israel in The
Inner Tour (2000).
As Alexandrowicz promoted his lat-
est release in the United States this
year, he came to anticipate criticism
from Jewish viewers who would prefer
to see the sunny side of Israeli society.
"People might say something like,
you know, With all the anti-Semitism
... with all the things going on, how
can a film that is critical of Israel be
shown?"' Alexandrowicz said. "But
when you begin to take into consider-
ation the agenda of the foreign affairs
ministry when you are making a film
— you're in trouble.
"For me, this is never a real ques-
tion," he said. "I don't work in PR." ❑

The most revealing conversation in
Love Inventory is between David and
his wife, where she declares matter-
of-factly that he's always put his sib-
lings first. That scene describes the

entire Fisher dynamic better than all
the others combined.
Love Inventory won the Israeli
Academy Award for best documen-
tary, but I wish Fisher had pursued
the implied scandal of his lost sister
past its apparent dead end. The
implication is that she, like many
newborn children of poor, weak
Holocaust survivors, was taken from
her parents and raised by "more suit-
able" parents.
Did the new Jewish state have an
official policy? Who authorized and
supervised its implementation?
How was hospital staff persuaded
to go along? Now there's a film
worth making. ❑

The Fisher siblings; writer-director
David Fisher is at the far left.

The Detroit Film Theatre screens
James' Journey to Jerusalem7 and
9:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday
and 4 and 7 p.m. Sunday, April
16-18, at the DIA. $5.50-$6.50.
(313) 833-3237.
The JCC's Lenore Marwil
Jewish Film Festival shows the film
5 p.m. Monday, April 26, at the
Birmingham 8; 8 p.m. Thursday,
April 29, at the Palace Theatre in
Windsor; 8 p.m. Sunday, May 2,
at the United Artists in
Commerce; and 8 p.m. Monday,
May 3, at the Michigan Theater in
Ann Arbor. $8. (248) 788-2900.

.

Love Inventory. airs 11 p.m.
Sunday, April 18, on Detroit
Public Television-Channel 56 and
other PBS stations nationwide.

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4/16

2004

51

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