OTTAWA’S CINEMA FOR INTERNATIONAL AND INDEPENDENT MOVIES

The ByTowne has closed, but has re-opened temporarily to present "The Best Of The ByTowne"
February 26 to March 7

For a schedule of films in the series, click here.

As at Sunday, February 28th, all shows are SOLD OUT.

Some returned tickets may become available; check this link.   Thank you, Ottawa!

Bethlehem

When you are playing both sides, who do you trust?

One of the most unnervingly lucid films to be made about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Yuval Adler’s Bethlehem is a bold and bracing feature debut. Shifting between Israeli and Palestinian societies to tell its story of secret strategies, precarious alliances, and terrible betrayals, this gripping thriller plunges us into a milieu of family, terror, and espionage.

Poster art for BethlehemAt the centre of Bethlehem’s fraught geometries is Sanfur (Shadi Mar’i) who is both the little brother of wanted Palestinian militant Ibrahim (Hisham Suliman) and an informant engaged by the Shin Bet, Israel’s secret service. Sanfur was only fifteen when first recruited by Shin Bet officer Razi (Tsahi Halevi), and the two quickly developed an intimate, almost fraternal relationship, one that granted Sanfur more tenderness, respect, and attention than he ever found at home. Still, as Shin Bet’s plot to assassinate Ibrahim heats up, Sanfur finds his loyalties hopelessly divided. Tensions escalate, leading to a brutal climax that offers no escape from the morass, but deepens our understanding of it.

Though the Oscar-nominated documentary The Gatekeepers helped familiarize Western audiences with the complicated history of the Shin Bet, Bethlehem takes us one step closer. Adler, who worked for Israeli army intelligence for several years, co-wrote the script with Ali Waked, a Muslim journalist. The two conducted interviews with Shin Bet officers, and Palestinian militants from al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades and Hamas. Years of research went into developing this complex, intelligent, and timely tragedy. It will have you talking, and thinking, long after the end credits roll – and pondering the human price of conflict everywhere.

– Jane Shoettle, Toronto International Film Festival
 

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