Palestine Trilogy (b.h. Yael) Rating: NNN Rating: NNN
Israeli-born Toronto-based artist b.h. Yael revisits her troubled homeland in this series, subtitled Documentations In History, Land And Hope.
The first video, Remembering Deir Yassin, takes a journalistic approach, using maps, (perhaps a bit too much) text and interviews. In a land where much energy is devoted to remembering past injustices and atrocities, the 1948 massacre by Jewish militia groups at Deir Yassin, a Palestinian village near Jerusalem, is a pivotal one. Though there's some grudging acknowledgement that a wrong was done here, no memorial exists at the site. The old stone buildings have been incorporated into an Israeli psychiatric hospital, an apt metaphor for a country gripped by madness.
In Even In The Desert, interviews with Israeli and international peace activists working with Palestinians offer a note of hope amid the grim vignettes of life under occupation: harassment at checkpoints, homes that have literally been walled in, farmers separated from their fields by the Wall, sheep poisoned by settlers, children who must be escorted to school by peace workers.
A Hot Sand Filled Wind sets images, some from the same journalistic footage used in the first two videos, to a poem in English, Arabic and Hebrew. Words appear onscreen in Hebrew and Arabic: I know you. There is no peace without recognition. Though it might seem too abstract on its own, its final images of swimmers in an idyllic pool are a fitting conclusion to the trilogy. (Royal, January 11)