Children of war featured in film to be screened

Promises, an Academy Award-nominated documentary film that features Israeli and Palestinian children, will be shown at 7 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 9, in Room 204 of Pettengill Hall.

Bates senior Smadar Bakovic of Neve Illan, Israel, will introduce the film and lead a discussion afterwards. The public is invited to attend the screening, sponsored by Bates College Hillel, free of charge.

This internationally recognized film (in Hebrew and Arabic with English subtitles) has won multiple prizes, including audience awards for best film at the San Francisco and Paris international film festivals. “Promises,” wrote New York Times film critic Julie Salomon, “demonstrates the unusual power of thoughtful, subjective filmmaking.”

Produced and directed by Justine Shapiro and B.Z. Goldberg, the 106-minute film presents seven children between the ages of 9 and 13, an age group that rarely has the opportunity to speak for itself. The children are neither as self-conscious as teenagers nor as polite as adults. They speak directly, without self-censorship, and as “children of war” are far more amusing than an audience might expect. The film captures each child’s unique idiosyncratic style of communication.

Mirrors of their culture and spokespersons for future generations of Israelis and Palestinians, the children are acutely aware of the political reality that surrounds them. Their freshness of expression contrasts the entrenched and often embittered opinions of adults. These seven children live in and around Jerusalem. Though only 20 minutes apart, they exist in completely different worlds.

A native of South Africa, filmmaker Shapiro grew up in Berkeley, Calif., studied history and theater at Tufts University and hosts the award-winning travel series Lonely Planet. Born in Boston, Goldberg grew up outside of Jerusalem and studied filmmaking at New York University. He worked as a television journalist during the Intifada.

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