I must devote this space to what I think is the best film in the 2011 Seattle Jewish Film Festival. There are, of course, other great films, such as Eran Riklis's The Human Resources Manager (this movie opens the festival and points in the direction of postnational, globalized Israel—it's not a bad idea to compare and contrast it with Ayelet Menahemi's 2007 film Noodle) and Yael Heronski's A Film Unfinished, a documentary about a fictional/nonfictional film that Nazi propagandists tried to make in 1942. (The only purpose of the propaganda film was to place the blame for the misery and poverty in a Warsaw ghetto on the Jews themselves—and this is all the more bizarre because it reveals that even at this late stage, in 1942, even with so much blood on its hands, and soon to pour blood over its entire body, the German state still wanted to clean its crimes with the cloth of legitimacy.)
But the film Precious Life is the gem of the festival. It's directed by an Israeli journalist, Shlomi Eldar, and concerns a Palestinian mother, her sick baby, and an Israeli pediatrician. The doctor is a humanist with a warm smile and a strange gait. The boy has a terrible immune disorder. The mother and her young family desperately want the boy to live. But the baby will not live without an expensive operation. After the story of the terrible situation is aired on TV, an Israeli Jew anonymously donates the needed money. The operation is a success. The boy lives and grows. But the documentary does not have a happy ending. In this culturally and politically complicated part of the world, all motives, desires, and hopes are doomed to end in an ambiguous mist.