Are Israel’s acclaimed documentaries — “The Gatekeepers” (which opens today in New York and L.A.), “5 Broken Cameras” and “The Law in These Parts” — helping to swing public opinion in Israel to the left? That’s the question I explore in my Docutopia column this week at SundanceNow. With the results of last Tuesday’s election surprising many with the weaker-than-expected turnout for Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, there may be a shift towards the political center and a better chance for compromise with the Palestinians.
While it might not be fair to say that “Gatekeepers” actually did much to impact the election, as I write, “taken together, the three movies suggest the pivotal role that documentaries can play in expressing a population’s hopes and fears, and even in shaping those hopes and fears.”
“The last time such a critical mass of noteworthy documentaries with similar political goals were made and released around the same time was in 2004, the year of George W. Bush’s presidential election fight to stay in office after his controversial decision to launch the war in Iraq. A slew of leftwing films—Fahrenheit 911, Uncovered: The Whole Truth About the Iraq War, Control Room, The Corporation, Super Size Me—all came out within months of each other, each aimed at fighting back against the country’s pro-war and pro-corporate conservative tilt. Bush won, of course, just as Netanyahu did. But we all know what happened four years later.”
You can read the rest of the story here.