With One Voice (D’une seule voix)
This uplifting documentary follows musician Jean-Yves Labat de Rossi and his efforts to unite Israeli and Palestinian performers through the medium of music. Having achieved a similar project in Sarajevo, Labat de Rossi aimed to encourage cultural exchange based on a foundation of mutual respect and understanding. Musicians from both countries were to perform together in a series of concerts throughout France, which would focus on music and not politics.
Inevitably things don’t quite work out as the Frenchman had intended. Allegations fly, with both sides accusing the other of attempting to hijack the tour for their own political agendas. In one case, the mention of Mahmoud Abbas provokes anger in the Israeli camp and the culprit is duly berated by an incensed Labat de Rossi as if he were a naughty schoolboy.
As the film progresses the tension begins to fade and close friendships are established. Perhaps the most poignant scene in the documentary is where one of the younger performers, an Israeli boy, is asked how he feels about Palestinians in light of his experiences. His response is that he is less afraid of them than he was before. I had expected him to say something predictable like “they’re really nice,” but his answer was far more profound. His fear was derived from a lack of familiarity and understanding: fear of the unknown.
In spite of the tour’s success most of the musicians were not optimistic about the prospect of peace within their lifetime. Sure this film won’t solve the problems of the Middle East but it does serve to remind us that there is always hope.
Capitalism: A Love Story
If you’ve seen any of Michael Moore’s previous films (Bowling for Columbine, Sicko etc.) you will probably be familiar with the format of his latest project. In his characteristically blue-collar style the director has turned his attention to the issue of the day: the financial crisis. More specifically, Moore has chosen to address the looming figure of capitalism and if it is really as equitable as American politicians claim it to be.
I’m no economist and couldn’t possibly comment on the validity of the film’s judgments but it’s certainly entertaining. This in itself is a considerable achievement. Who would have thought that after months of relentless media coverage it would actually be possible to produce an interesting film on the subject? However, the movie is not without its flaws. Moore has a tendency to use specific examples to make sweeping generalizations and often plays on the viewer’s emotions to strengthen his arguments. Scenes of families being evicted from their homes can make it hard to maintain a balanced debate.
Overall I thought the film was pretty enjoyable, accessible and surprisingly amusing considering the topic. When seeking a comment from a random stockbroker, Moore received the sarcastic response of “don’t make any more movies.” Personally, I hope he doesn’t take this to heart.
– Ross Dickie