Israel-Lebanon war sparks "human" films at Sundance

Fri Jan 25, 2008 8:26pm EST
 
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By Mary Milliken

PARK CITY, Utah (Reuters) - Eighteen months after the outbreak of Israel's war with Hezbollah guerrillas in Lebanon, filmmakers from both countries have brought movies conveying frustration over the conflict to the Sundance Film Festival.

Israel's "Strangers" and Lebanon's "Under the Bombs" are vying with 14 others for best world dramatic film at Sundance, the top U.S. independent movie festival and a growing influence on world filmmaking. Awards will be announced on Saturday.

While "Under the Bombs" puts the conflict at the forefront of its story, with a woman searching for her son amid the rubble of southern Lebanon, the war is the backdrop of a love story between an Israeli and a Palestinian in "Strangers."

The Israeli directors were filming their love story during the 2006 World Cup soccer championship in Germany when they heard two Israeli soldiers had been kidnapped by Hezbollah.

Israel began bombing southern Lebanon. Hezbollah responded with rocket attacks on Israel, and the directors went home briefly to take stock of the new situation.

The war lasted 34 days and killed some 1,200 people, the majority of whom were civilians in Lebanon.

"It completely changed our plans and the second part of the movie was the war," said Guy Nattiv, who co-wrote and co-directed "Strangers" with Erez Tadmor. "But it was important for us to maintain the love story."

Much of "Strangers" takes place at the Palestinian woman's home in Paris where her Israeli lover finds hostility among her friends to his presence and his country's bombing of Lebanon.   Continued...

 
<p>Israeli soldiers return from Lebanese territory near the northern Israeli town of Menara in this August 15, 2006 file picture. Eighteen months after the outbreak of Israel's war with Hezbollah guerrillas in Lebanon, filmmakers from both countries have brought movies conveying frustration over the conflict to the Sundance Film Festival. REUTERS/Eliana Aponte/Files</p>