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Monday, September 26, 2011

Re-Post: PROMISES (2001)

Deutsche Version dieses Blogs hier.


Written and directed by
Justine Shapiro
B.Z. Goldberg


Palestinian boy, looking towards a concrete wall
separating Palestinian and Israeli territory (2011)

Ten years ago,
the documentary PROMISES was published.
A decade later, the situation between Israel and Palestine 
still has not improved at all - on the contrary.

In celebration of the ten year anniversary of this
stunning documentary's release,
and in response to the current events
at the United Nations,
I post a now remodeled and enhanced version
of a blog from last year about

Make sure to buy this movie.
You will not watch it only once.


The feature film long documentary PROMISES was in theaters and won numerous prizes on film festivals all around the globe, before it was finally published on DVD in America.

It describes the everyday life of Jewish and Palestinian children in Jerusalem, facing the never ending state of civil war that wrenches Israel for so long now, and only brings pain and sadness to everyone involved.

B.Z. Goldberg, born and raised in Jerusalem, went to America and became a filmmaker. Years later, he returned to his native country and made this documentary where he shows how Jewish and Palestinian children live in this constant state of war. They describe their view of the situation, and of the people "on the other side of the fence".

Each of those kids first has clear and distinctive views about who in this conflict is "right", and who is "wrong". But during the interviews, some of the kids start asking questions, and develop an interest to personally get to know those kids beyond the Checkpoint ... And so, a groundbreaking (and dangerous!) experiment is waged. And those who participate in this venture, see things with different eyes afterwards.


PROMISES is one of the most intense, moving and important documentaries I have ever seen. After it had been massively successful on festivals and in cinemas around the world, it finally also was published on DVD in America, in an extended edition that included additional interviews with some of the kids, made in 2004 - looking back at the time of the documentary, and describing their current life situation, and what had become of the thoughts and dreams, and of the promises made a few years earlier.

In Germany, PROMISES has been shown on TV and has been for public sale on VHS tape only in the years 2003 / 2004. After that, the movie could only be purchased by schools, as teaching material (on a VHS tape, and for an outrageously high fee).

2009 finally saw the German release of the movie on DVD, albeit only being the original feature film and missing the additional 2004 footage.


In 2011, this documentary will be one decade old - but the topic it deals with is still as present (and pressing!) as it has been for so long. 

And the message of PROMISES is timeless, and universal.


"My name means Giving and Loyalty,
and it's also the symbol for Love."
"PROMISES stops you in your tracks. It reminds you that children are very connected to God. It is deeply touching and disturbing to see how alike all children are and how religion turns them into each others enemies. It is a movie that changes you."
(Mike Nichols, Film Director)

"Impressive, moving and deeply authentic. One of the best films about the Middle East I have ever seen. The rhythm of the editing leaves you at the edge of your chair. If I had my way, the next Middle East peace summit would start with a screening of PROMISES."
(David Grossmann, Israeli author)



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