Israeli filmmaker and video artist Avi Mograbi was born in 1956 in Tel Aviv. He studied art and philosophy in Tel Aviv, where he still lives today. After gathering his first experience assisting directors, his own filmmaking began in 1989. Since 1999 he also teaches documentary and experimental filmmaking at the University of Tel Aviv, and at Jerusalem’s Sam Spiegel Film and Television School and Art Academy. Avi Mograbi is not only considered Israel’s most important documentarist, but also a committed eyewitness of the Middle East conflict, an experimentalist, and avid reformist of cinematic language. His films have appeared at festivals worldwide.
Avi Mograbi's film is not only a sharp criticism of the treatment by Israeli soldiers of Palestinians living under Israeli occupation, but it also subverts the nationalist and triumphal significations of some of the symbols pertaining to the resilience of the jewish nation - the Masada mass suicide from 72 AD and Samson's revenge on the Philistines who were trying to disgrace him. The main narrative centres on a phone conversation with a Palestinian friend who is describing the current state of mind of the Palestinians. This account is illustrated through different scenes depicting the abusive behaviour of Israeli soldiers towards Palestinian men, women and children, but also through various episodes in which exultant guides, teachers or rock bands recount grandiose tellings of the two aforementioned stories. Between these self-pitying myths and the despotic demeanour of Israeli soldiers emerges not only a deep rift, but also a legitimate question as to the power held by ideology to transform a glaring reality into one that is fictitious, in line with a narrative accepted by the majority of a nation at a certain moment in time. (Andrei Rus)