Thoughtful Jerusalem Cuts makes a fitting closer to the Voices Forward fest.
JERUSALEM CUTS (Liran Atzmor). 52 minutes. Subtitled. Screens at the Royal Cinema (608 College), Sunday (November 16), 9 pm. For complete Voices Forward film schedule, see Indie & Rep Film listings. voicesforward.org. Rating: NNN
Before it became engulfed in the turmoil that has plagued Israel for half a century, the city of Hebron was the peacefully shared home of both Jews and Arabs.
This hub of two cultures is a fitting focus for the third annual Voices Forward Festival, which once again allows Toronto to take up Hebron's old mantle, working as a bridge for art and dialogue between Israelis and Palestinians.
This year's festival expands to include a book launch, musical performances, theatre, photography, multimedia installations and films like the closing night gala, Jerusalem Cuts.
Director Liran Atzmor's remarkably even-handed and insightful documentary sifts through the ruins, photos and subjective memories that remain from the battle for Jerusalem in 1948.
Famed photojournalist John Philips's pictures of Jewish refugees fleeing while Arabs loot the town contrast with recently discovered photos taken by Ali Zaarour, whose images show the same events with a more dispassionate backstory. The sons of these two photographers tell their versions of what happened, and the film observes without handing down a verdict.
Although its brevity and style feel more CBC-doc than feature, Jerusalem Cuts is cutting journalism that wrangles with a familiar but engaging argument about the limited perspective of photography and its influence on public memory.