While I was in Canberra, managed to find some time to watch a couple of movies. Coincidentally, both movies centred around topical Israel-Palestine struggles, where good or bad are not always as clear-cut as they are portrayed in the mainstream media. Both movies were also extremely thought-provoking in my opinion.

In the Steven Spielberg-directed Munich (also IMDB link) we see a fictionalised account of the retaliatory actions by the Israeli government following the failed and ultimately fatal kidnapping of Israeli athletes in the 1972 Munich Olympic Games. The protagonist Avner – played by Eric Bana – shoulders the responsibilities of a nation to hunt down the ones who plotted the incident. As the story unfolds, we see him torn between family, loyalty to country and his own conscience. We also see his struggle against becoming into a cold-blooded murderer himself, i.e. the very people he has been tasked to eliminate. In the end, you walk away feeling stunned, no longer sure who are supposed to be the “good guys” any more. Two peoples, both fighting endlessly for just a chance to have a place to call home. By the way, the soundtrack is also hauntingly beautiful that is sure to stay in your head once you leave the cinema.

Paradise Now (also IMDB link) shows us the life of two young men in the West Bank. They seemed bored with life and can see no way out except through a glorious and explosive death that will lead to paradise. It was both sad and ironic when one of main characters explained matter-of-factly why there was no cinema in town: there was a protest against the injustice of not able to work in Israel and when they reached the cinema they just decided to burn it down as there was nothing else better to do. Despite the gloomy overtones, the director does allow us a glimmer of hope towards the end of the movie. Let us hope that this can also happen in real life some day.