Tells the story of the complex relationship between an Israeli Secret Service officer and his teenage Palestinian informant. Shuttling back and forth between conflicting points of view, the...
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Tells the story of the complex relationship between an Israeli Secret Service officer and his teenage Palestinian informant. Shuttling back and forth between conflicting points of view, the film is a raw portrayal of characters torn apart by competing loyalties and impossible moral dilemmas, giving an unparalleled glimpse into the dark and fascinating world of human intelligence.Written by
The three lead actors in the film, Shadi Mar'i who plays Sanfur, Tsahi Halevi who plays Razi and Hitham Omari who plays Badawi, were non-professionals who had never acted in a film before. Omari, a Palestinian from Kafr 'Aqab, was discovered accidentally during a location scout. Halevi was discovered just weeks before filming began; he was an aspiring singer who had just finished appearing on the first season of Israeli singing competition show "The Voice" Israel, where he had reached the final four. Mar'i, who was not even 17 at the time of the shoot, was discovered after hundreds of teenagers were auditioned. Many of the extras and bit players (both Israelis and Palestinians) were reenacting in the film scenes they experienced in their own lives. See more »
The last scene, when he smashed the Israeli officer's head with a rock, we can see that there is no blood spatters on it, however on the next shot, while he is sitting apart we can see the blood marks. See more »
In a fascinating coincidence this excellent film,and Hany Abu-Assad's even better 'Omar' appeared at nearly the same time. Both tell similar stories, one from the Israeli perspective and one from the Palestinian. Both tell of a young man recruited (or forced) into being an informer for the Israelis. We see these young men torn in multiple directions, risking their lives if they are uncovered, trying to play one side against the other, finding themselves drawn ever deeper in a morass they are powerless to stop.
In Bethlehem the 'hero' is only a teenager, and an immature one at that. His older brother is an accomplished terrorist/freedom fighter, leaving his little brother Sanfur without much of an identity of his own, he seems overlooked by his family and unimportant to his community. Ironically in many ways Sanfur's closest relationship is to his middle-aged Israeli 'handler', who also clearly has fatherly feelings towards the youth, further complicating the relationship.
The acting is generally excellent, and there's a lot of thriller like tension to go along with the human drama. I actually saw this and 'Omar' within days of each other, and I would recommend the same approach to others. Seeing the two sides of the same coin gives a feeling of greater insight into the conundrum that is the middle-east. Also, both directors are careful not to paint black and white portraits of either side, both treat all involved as human, so the differences in perspective are both fascinating and subtle.
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