Intelligent foreign intrigue is rare enough on the big screen, which would give this British-Israeli-West German co-production, loosely adapted from a Joseph Conrad story, credit for honorable intentions, if only mixed results. When a young, liberal Israeli fugitive is given refuge in an Arab hostel in East Berlin, the stage is set for a compelling drama of conscience betrayed, probing the division not only between Arab and Jew, but also between left and right wing Israeli politics. Flashbacks reveal a neat little assassination conspiracy designed to sabotage peace talks with the Palestinians, but the scenario soon becomes bogged down in convoluted plotting and spy fiction clichés: endless double-crosses, assorted dead bodies, alienated characters, and so forth.
The screening I attended (on the U.C. Berkeley campus, way back in August of 1989) included the short film 'Sumud (Stick to the Land)', a brief, underground documentary presenting nervous children in a West Bank refugee camp, asked to answer leading questions way beyond their experience.
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