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We Too Have No Other Land

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We Too Have No Other Land

(60 min. and 75 min, DVD, 2007)
  • Written & Directed by: Jerrold Kessel and Pierre Klochendler
  • To be Edited by: Michel Klochendler

Synopsis

A SOCCER DIARY-FILM about life around a unique soccer pitch -- a human drama which kicks-off in Galilee and scores goals all around Israel. According to the 19th Century American philosopher Ralph Waldo Emerson “The quality of a society is best judged by how it treats its minorities”. Israel has a mixed record with regard to its Arab minority. Enter Bnei Sakhnin ('Sons of Sakhnin'), an Arab village club, Cinderellas in soccer boots, last year winners of Israel’s State Cup…. the players of our intimate diary about the team’s battles in the top Israeli division during the soccer season, on and off the pitch. Our intense involvement with Sakhnin thus far has led us to an addendum to the Emerson dictum: the quality of a democracy is also judged by whether the majority, not just the minority, is willing to change. That, a democracy grappling with its minorities, can only truly sustain itself if the majority is not only prepared to respect minority rights but that, for both majority and minority to be fully-fledged parts of their mutual society, the majority must be willing to change itself, alter attitudes towards the minority, and not merely insist that the minority change. One in six Israelis is an Arab, a minority split between their desire to be fully integrated citizens of their state, Israel, and a desire to be wholly linked to their people, the Palestinians. Some Jews see them as a ‘fifth column’, others as a potential bridge to peace and co-existence. It’s the first time an Arab club is competing at the highest levels of Israeli soccer. Through Sakhnin’s emblematic success, Israeli Arabs are now able to express their citizenship without raising the Israeli flag, just as they able to express their nationality without raising the Palestinian flag - a creative tackling of identity dilemmas. Bnei Sakhnin is a triumph of self-reliance. The club does not even have its own home ground. The key to their challenge to Israeli society – Jewish majority and Arab minority alike – is how self-reliance has brought newly won self-esteem; a pride in identity enables them to kick the ball of democracy onto the pitch of embattled Israeli society. As such, Sakhnin may be a model for all democratic societies which grapple with their majority-minority relationship. Winning on the soccer pitch allows Sakhnin to decide for themselves what role they want to play and what challenges they pose - to Israeli Jews, to fellow Palestinians, to anyone indeed who cares about the scoring of equal rights. Can the cardinal issues of discrimination, equality, acceptance and coexistence -- critical components of democracy -- be squared into the one round ball? Survival, we discover, survival for both majority and minority in Israel, is at the core of the separate ethos of both communities. This is reflected in Bnei Sakhnin’s tenacious struggle for survival in the league. The Winning Season plays out as a season of passion and of pain, of dreams and of fears, of how, in the battle to live together, the weak stand up to the strong.


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Festivals

  • Panorama of Independent Filmmakers, Thessalonica, Greece, 2007
  • Zanzibar International Film Festival, Tanzania, 2007
  • Le Scoop d'Angers, Festival Int'l du Journalism, France, 2007
  • Berlin International Football Film Festival, 2007
  • Southern Peoples Film Festivals, Caracas, Venezuela, 2007
  • Cine-Pobre - No Budget Films Festival, Cuba, 2007
  • Gottingen Int'l Ethnographis Film Festival, Germany, 2008
  • Voice Forward International Film Festival, Toronto, Canada, 2007
  • The New Israel Fund, NY, USA
  • Montenegro International TV Festival, Yugoslavia, 2006
  • Sole e Luna International Film Festival, Italy, 2006
  • Delray Beach Film Festival, USA, 2007
  • Docusur International Film Festival, Canaries Islands, 2006
  • DocAviv International Film Festival, Israel, 2006

Educational

  • University of Texas at Austin
  • Baltimore Center for Jewish Education
  • Duke University
  • B'nai Jeshurun Synagogue, USA
  • Ohio State University
 
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