The Inner Tour (2001)

Genres - Culture & Society  |   Sub-Genres - Military & War, Race & Ethnicity, Religions & Belief Systems, Sociology  |   Run Time - 110 min.  |   Countries - Israel   |   MPAA Rating - NR
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Review by Josh Ralske

Filmed in 2000, just a few months before violence escalated in the Middle East, The Inner Tour is a thoughtful documentary on an incendiary subject. Filmmaker Ra'anan Alexandrowicz starts with a provocative setup. He bypassed travel restrictions by taking a large group of Palestinians from the West Bank on a three-day bus tour of Israel. Alexandrowicz provides participants' names and residences, allowing their stories to unfold naturally from the conversations they have with each other. Despite living in close proximity, these people had very limited interaction with the Israeli population. But while there's a great deal of anger expressed in the film, these men and women also take advantage of a rare opportunity to connect with the Israelis as people and to glimpse their point of view. At the Tel Aviv Amusement Park, a younger woman, whose husband is serving a life sentence for his involvement in the death of an Israeli soldier, asks an older woman, whose husband was killed during the intifada, what she would do if she happened to see the Israeli who killed her husband. When the older woman angrily describes the revenge she would take, the young woman sadly wonders aloud what the mother of the Israeli soldier her husband killed might want to do to her. As viewers get to know these people, it's impossible not to sympathize with their plight. There's a deep underlying irony to the concept of turning this group into tourists, and it produces fascinating and moving images and interactions. The film offers no solutions, but in portraying the situation in such a humane way, it does suggest a glimmer of hope. All the more tragic that conditions in the region took such an ugly turn shortly after the film was made.