Colliding Dreams, a new documentary about the history of the Arab/Israeli conflict
from the Jewish-American point of view, comes to us from two men with
superlative credentials. Filmmaker Joseph Dorman is best-known to us as the
director of Sholem Aleichem: Laughing in the
Darkness. Oren Rudavsky is best-known to us as the director of Hiding and Seeking: Faith and
Tolerance after the Holocaust. Together they have taken a leap
of faith, crafting an epic drama worthy of its subject.
saw the directors’ cut of this film at the 2015 New York Jewish Film Festival.
Back then it was called The Zionist Idea,
and it was 160 minutes long (2 hours and 40 minutes). That was just fine with
me, but clearly too long for others. So Dorman and Rudavsky locked themselves
up with their editors to produce this new cut, which is “only” 134 minutes long.
However, I am happy to report that Colliding
Dreams is not merely 26 minutes shorter than The Zionist Idea, it is also tighter and better focused -- so all
their travails were well worth the effort.
Q and A after the screening that I attended at the Lincoln Plaza Cinema in
Manhattan on March 4, Dorman said: “Me, Oren, and our two editors, we fought a
lot to be truthful to all points of view … but we didn’t make a film about
Palestine. We made a film about Zionism from the Jewish point of view, although
we did try to capture the Palestinian point of view too.”
this relatively straightforward statement belies the complexity of their
endeavor. There is no one “Jewish
point of view,” nor is there one
“Palestinian point of view.” So the attempt to “be truthful to all points of
view” really means focusing on the differences within each group, in hopes of
finding points on the continuum where most people find themselves closer to the
midpoint than to either of the poles.
filmmakers give this their all. Quoting Dorman in the Q and A again: “We have
no ‘political message’ per se. [Oren and I] believe in a Two-State Solution. A
Jewish State must be democratic. So both attacks on Israel and self-righteous
support for Israel are both wrong-headed … There will always be at least two
narratives are presented chronologically -- with voiceover by Michael Douglas
-- in five sections:
timespan is more than a century, from 1882 to the day before yesterday. Every
major milestone and movement is described, with abundant historical footage
prompting cheers and tears. The long list of speakers includes the famous and
the infamous. (Which talking head should get which label will depend, of
course, on your own point of view.) There are many politicians and religious
leaders as well as artists and intellectuals. There are also citizen voices,
people in the flow of daily life who are interviewed on the sidewalks of Tel
Aviv and Ramallah.
a complex, demanding film, and I will not attempt to summarize further. All I
can really do is urge you to see it for yourself, for yourself, your children
and Jews everywhere.
Colliding Dreams opens in Metro
Chicago March 25 at the Music Box Theater on Southport and
the Landmark Renaissance Center Cinema in Highland Park. For times and tickets,
follow these links to the Music Box website,
and the Landmark
For additional photos and comments
from the Lincoln
Plaza Cinema Q and A with Joe Dorman, visit my Blog Second
Top Photo: IDF soldiers remove a protester
during the evacuation of an Israeli settlement.
Bottom Photo: A group of young “illegal” immigrants
on board the Hagana ship “Jewish State” arrive in the port of Haifa. (Note: I
took the liberty of converting this photo from black and white to sepia so
that the wonderful expressions on these precious faces would show better
Credits: Courtesy of the Colliding