Synopsis by Mark Deming
The conflict between Arabs and Jews in the Middle East has been a long and ongoing struggle, which, in many respects, is intensified by the fact the two sides are quite close in terms of both geography and heritage. Filmmaker Samir Naqqash has chosen an especially potent example of this paradox in this documentary -- the lives of four Iraqi Jews who were members of the Communist Party. Forced to leave Baghdad in the 1950s, they became refugees in Tel Aviv, but while their religious beliefs made them outcasts in Iraq, their ethnic heritage and political views made it difficult for them to find acceptance in Israel. While all four men have grown to love their adopted home -- and three are writers who work in the Hebrew language -- they have also been forced to accept the struggles which are part of living in two cultures often at odds with one another. Forget Baghdad: Jews and Arabs - The Iraqi Connection also explores the cultural stereotypes of both Arabs and Jews and how they have been portrayed in the arts and the media, including an interview with Ella Habiba Shohat, an Arab Jew now living in New York who has written an acclaimed, but controversial, book on the Israeli cinema.
Arab, cinema, Communist-party, exile, homeland, Iraq, Israel, Israeli [nationality], Jewish, Muslim, retrospective, stereotype