JERICHO'S ECHO: PUNK ROCK IN THE HOLY LAND (Liz Nord). 75 minutes. Opens Friday (November 11) at the Bloor. See Indie & Rep Film Listings. Rating: NNN
Juxtaposing shots of mohawked mosh pits with stony-faced camo-clad soldiers, filmmaker Liz Nord 's gritty documentary (stage-)dives head-first into Israel's tiny flourishing punk scene, where bands like Useless ID write three-chord rock songs to mouth off against mandatory military service and suicide bombers. Apart from the soundtrack of Hebrew hardcore and poppy anthems of alienation, Nord's focus is less about the music and more about why her articulate subjects embrace punk as a means of rebelling against the conservative ethos of their homeland.
Unfortunately, she structures the film as an exhausting series of sound-bite interviews with punk kids in Propagandhi and Dead Kennedys T-shirts, intercut with brief bursts of raw concert footage, but provides very little background info about the bands profiled. So while Nord capably shows the diversity of this burgeoning subculture (the lone right-wing band in a sea of anti-authoritarian leftists is fascinating), you never get a feel for the personality of any one person or group.
Still, Jericho's Echo does manage to convey the sweaty, unbridled energy of the best punk shows, and Nord's raw aesthetic captures an appropriate video fanzine vibe.