Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Movie Moments: #70

Exodus (1960)

For a movie that is more than 50 years old, it remains remarkably fresh and topical.  It also provides an interesting look at the founding of the nation of Israel in 1948, both as to the wish of the Jews for a homeland and the Arab NIMBY viewpoint. 

Paul Newman as Ari Ben Canaan leads a group of Jewish immigrants to Israel from Cyprus, against a backdrop of the founding of Israel and the hostility of Arab nationals.

Ari Ben Canaan (words spoken at the burial of a young Jewish girl and Ari’s Arabic friend, killed for being sympathetic to the Jews)

This is Taha Mukhtar of Abu Yesha. And this is Karen, Secretary of the Rooms Committee, Secretary of the Rooms Committee, Bungalow 12, Gan Dafna.  We have no kadi  to pray for Taha's soul.  And we have no rabbi to pray over Karen.

Taha should have lived a long life surrounded by his people and his sons.  And death should have come to him as an old friend offering the gift of sleep.  It came, instead, as a maniac.  And Karen, who loved her life and who lived it as purely as a flame, why did God forget her?  Why did she have to stumble onto death so young?  And all alone?  And in the dark?

We of all people should no longer be surprised when death reaches out to us.  With the world's insanity and our own slaughtered millions, we should be used to senseless killing.  But I am not used to it.  I cannot and will not get used to it.  I look at these two people, and I want to howl like a dog.  I want to shout "murder" so that the whole world will hear it and never forget it.

It's right that these two people should lie side by side in this grave because they will share it in peace.  But the dead always share the earth in peace. And that's not enough.  It's time for the living to have a turn.

A few miles from here, people are fighting and dying and we must join them. But I swear on the bodies of these two people that the day will come when Arab and Jew will share in a peaceful life this land that they have always shared in death. 

Taha, old friend and very dear brother.  Karen, child of light,  daughter of Israel.  Shalom.

The eulogy scene, quoted above:

When the filmmakers bought the ship that they used as the refugee ship, the company they bought it from was so thrilled that they delivered it with a fresh coat of paint. Unfortunately, this was unsuitable, since the ship was meant to look old, so fake rust had to be painted on at great expense.

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