Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
Opens locally Friday, March 18th, 2011
Run Time: 1 hour, 18 minutes, Not Rated
Directed by Julia Bacha
The best entries in the Documentary genre often open our eyes to a little known way of life, and put a spotlight on a portion of humanity that we are not always well-educated on. They uncover the harsh realities of the world we live in while at the same time leaving us with a sense of hope and inspiration to actually get off our butts and do something. In the new documentary “Budrus”, all of these are directives are accomplished, leaving us with one of the better documentary films in quite some time.
“Budrus” is a small village in Palestine near the Israeli border. Most who are unaware of the intricate and age-old battle in the region are at least aware of this region as a hotspot for violence and war. The film follows the villagers of Budrus, specifically a Palestinian leader, as he fights to unite his people and avoid the destruction of his village. You see, the Israeli military, in an effort to blockade themselves from the
Palestinians, are constructing an enormous fence that stretches the entire length of the country’s border. The problem is, Israel has decided to build portions of this wall on Palestinian land…and Budrus is directly in the path of said wall.
Budrus is known for it’s olive trees, whom we hear the villagers describe as “alive”, in the same sense as their children, or each other. To destroy these olive trees is like witnessing murder, and for the fence to be built, bulldozers begin to tear through the olive trees. When the villagers protest and stand in the way of the bulldozers, they only slow down the inevitable destruction.
Like a snowball effect, the rebellion against the Israeli military grows and grows until it receives national and international attention. The key difference from what you may expect however, is that Budrus is leading a completely non-violent protest. Not facing an angry mob, but a dedicated group who believe in defending what is rightfully theirs, Israeli military are forced to reconsider their tactics involving the fence.
What we’re left with is a true story of how one person, and small groups of people, can truly make a difference in the world. It’s made even more effective that it takes place in a region known internationally as a place of chaos and violence.
The movie acts as an example of how positive protest and standing up for one’s beliefs can change the world. It’s the kind of movie that makes you aware of your own stereotypical views towards “groups” of people, and that what you hear through the news is rarely the full story.
It may be too heavy to consider that if an idea can begin with one, and grow into an entire village, then why can’t that idea continue to expand into an entire region and then the world? The movie doesn’t make such comparisons, it focuses squarely on the village of Budrus amidst the bigger picture of the Israeli/Palestinian conflict.’
If anything, the movie is almost too simple and straight-forward, but can be considered a model documentary for future filmmakers…that sometimes you let your story speak for itself, with no need for over-the-top production elements or effects.
Who knew that there is already “peace in the Middle East”, if you would just look closely enough.
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