Colliding Dreams (The Zionist Idea) (NR)

Documentary 135 min. March 4, 2016
By Diana Clarke
In the opening titles, Colliding Dreams calls itself "the story of Zionism as told by inhabitants of the land." Note the careful phrasing — "inhabitants," "land" — that doesn't specify which ones but assumes that you, the engaged viewer, already have some idea. This is an unusual documentary that accepts Zionism as a fact, then asks how it affects and is interpreted by Muslims, Palestinians, Jews and Israelis. When was the last time you saw a film that mapped the eastern edge of the Mediterranean and labeled its holy inland city Al-Quds/Jerusalem? Or that called Zionism a European solution to a European problem, then made explicit how Israel's Ashkenazi Jewish founders — with British backing — did not factor in the Mizrahim, Sephardim and other non-Ashkenazi Jews who came to join the Jewish state and have often since been treated by the Israeli government as, at best, an inconvenience?

Admittedly, it's an awfully low bar that makes a film about the Middle East radical simply for taking into account the opinions and experiences of people of color. But it's really, wonderfully refreshing to find one that centers around storytelling like this. Co-directors Joseph Dorman and Oren Rudavsky present an impressive collection of interviews with Palestinians, Israelis, and those who fall somewhere in between: with PLO officials in Ramallah and secular Jewish novelists in Tel Aviv; with Palestinian scholars in East Jerusalem and Orthodox followers of Rabbi Kook in West Jerusalem.

Made by two obsessive, detail-oriented Jews of Ashkenazi heritage, Colliding Dreams is a long, slow, thoughtful and sometimes plodding film committed to depicting the violence experienced by Palestinians and Israelis, the power differentials between them and how that has changed.
Joseph Dorman, Oren Rudavsky Joseph Dorman, Oren Rudavsky Joseph Dorman, Oren Rudavsky International Film Circuit inc.

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