Exile: A Myth Unearthed poses big questions in a bland way.
EXILE: A MYTH UNEARTHED (Ilan Ziv) Rating: NN
With its phoned-in voice of God narration, its snoozily animated Legoland landscapes and boilerplate History Channel score, Exile: A Myth Unearthed seems like a pedestrian and inoffensive made-for-TV documentary.
Yet the film poses hugely contentious questions: Is the notion of exile so deeply ingrained in Jewish identity that Israel and the Jewish diaspora are wilfully ignoring archaeological evidence that contradicts their exile narrative? Better yet, are Palestinians descendants of Jews who were never exiled?
Serious food for thought, but it tastes increasingly bland with every 180-degree pan around a bust of Josephus, every gauzy, pixel-dusted image of marching sandalled feet, every look at the same ancient painting coming to life.
Exile shifts between talking heads, a smattering of archival footage of earlier archaeological expeditions in the Holy Land, a guided tour of archaeological sites replete with cutaways to thoughtfully nodding tourists, and corny graphics.
Much here feels cheap or recycled. The closing credits list a great many international funding bodies - did everybody pitch in $20?
The film could certainly serve as a conversation starter, and that may be a good reason to go see it with friends, but a well-written essay would be more absorbing.
Opens Friday (December 7) at the Projection Booth East.