The remarkable documentary “Good Intentions” crowned the UK Jewish Film Festival that took place in London from 7th to 19th November.
Eluding the tribulations of the economy and stepping into the wonderful world of cinema was the invitation headline of the 13th UK Jewish Film Festival this year which included the inspiring documentary “Good intentions”, and offered much more to the festival than mere escapism and entertainment. This “groundbreaking TV drama” centres around two female chefs from Palestine and Israel, who are invited to co-host a cookery show in Israel. This is a novelty in the ongoing dispute between Israelis and Palestinians, in their world of opposed communities, full of prejudice towards each other. Amal and Tamil, the two chefs, face enormous hostility when they decide to become friends. “Should I say 'I can’t kill you because you are a friend of my mum’s'?” is the outrageous question of Tamil’s son as he is getting ready to join Israel’s army, to which Tamil’s husband exclaims wearily: “We can share as much humus as we want – there will never be peace. It is either them or us!”
Meanwhile, her partner Amal is declared a traitor and has to cope with the opposition from her embittered brother who lost his legs in an Israeli attack. Battling against the walls of prejudice and fear, Amal and Tamil decide to overcome these obstacles and to build bridges through the cookery show.
“Good intentions” is part of a drama series aired on Israeli television showing both Arabs and Jews interacting for the first time on prime time television broadcast both in Arabic and Hebrew. It is based on true stories, inspired by “The Parents’ Circle – Family Forum”, a peacemaking organisation that brings together Israeli and Palestinian families who have lost loved ones in the conflict. Their stories have been woven into the series, making the experience even more absorbing and intense.
In a discussion following the documentary, two members of The Parents’ Circle shared their experience as peacemakers in Israel. “Each of us must choose a path” explained Robi Damelin, whose son was killed in the conflict.
Her choice was to follow a road of education. Her knowledge grew as she discovered and learnt that Israelis and Palestinians generally don’t know or speak to each other – and therefore don’t understand one another. Robi passionately believes that her work can make a difference. “This is real, there is no fiction” added Ali Abu Awwad, the narrator of a fascinating story, and former anti-Israel activist. “I have lost two brothers in the conflict” he said, “but I have gained one”.
Attending the festival was throughout an enriching experience and the impact that the documentary had on us will surely endure.
If you are interested in learning more about “The Parents’ Circle – Family Forum”, please feel free to visit their website: http://www.theparentscircle.org/
By Julia Sahm