A culture clash is overcome as an African-American gospel choir travels to Israel to collaborate with Palestinian actors and stage a play about Martin Luther King. The parallels of struggle are striking, with the civil rights hero and martyr portrayed by a Palestinian actor who was jailed as a teenager after mounting an amateur radio station out of his home, a protest targeting the Israeli bus system, and the devastating loss of a compelling figure in the Palestinian struggle during the tour. The familiar scenes of injustice in the West Bank – homes destroyed, land lost, aggressive military responses to peaceful protests – become freshly horrifying as the viewer witnesses them through the eyes of the young choir members. The film has to be faulted for its complete failure to attempt to hear from the other side in this conflict – an issue that is only addressed by one of the choir members toward the end of the film. Still, she points out that she cannot imagine how it could possibly change her mind after what she has seen.
At VIFF: Oct. 3, 11 a.m., Cinematheque