Documentary Films | 2018 | 94 minutes
Stranger Says: It’s reasonable to ask why we need a documentary that chronicles a quarter-century-old peace agreement between Israelis and Palestinians that has yet to achieve its aims. The answer is simple: In pretty much all realms, we need to relearn the kind of brave and fragile process that was at the heart of the 1993 Olso Peace Accords. “Part of what happens in negotiations,” says an American diplomat present for Oslo’s enemy-versus-enemy conversations, “is the humanization of the other side.” We are in an era in which new mediums, old demagogic tricks, and urgent problems have all conspired to produce a limitless supply of absolutist, non-negotiable answers from pretty much everyone to pretty much everything. Watch and learn how to compromise for the greater good, and how easy it is for nativists and nationalists to pounce on peaceful compromise at its most vulnerable moment. (ELI SANDERS)
SIFF Says:On the occasion of the 25th anniversary of the Oslo Peace Accords, and in the context of Donald Trump’s decision to move the U.S. embassy in Israel to Jerusalem, comes an in-depth documentary on a small group of Israelis and Palestinians who met in Norway—secretly and against the law—to try to bring an end to one of the most intractable conflicts of our time. As the meetings were never officially sanctioned, they were chronicled principally in the negotiators’ diaries; filmmakers Mor Loushy and Daniel Sivan use these diaries to create reenactments of the meetings. In addition to the re-enactments, there is never-before-seen archival footage as well as interviews with survivors, including the chief Palestinian negotiator, Abu Ala, and Yitzhak Rabin’s second-in-command, Shimon Peres. The participants reflect on their involvement and speak openly and honestly about the difficulties they faced and the hopefulness that kept them engaged. The results provide new insights into why the negotiating process failed and acts as a poignant retrospective on a moment more than two decades ago when it seemed possible that peace could be within reach.
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