Opening this Saturday at the GableStage at the Biltmore, and running through August 7, the provocative and explosive stage play Masked is a candid depiction of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. In a village on the West Bank, three Palestinian brothers are torn between their obligations to family, ideology, and survival as they wrestle with the life-and-death decision to either join the Palestinian resistance, reject it, or flee altogether.
As with any story or film delving in this volatile topic, Masked is controversial. But it seeks to start open-minded dialogue about its subject matter much like our Top Ten Films about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict have done. Some are controversial, others lighthearted, but all get people talking about an important issue:
10. Hanna K. (1983)
Hannah Kaufman is an American-Jewish lawyer appointed to defend a Palestinian man accused of terrorism. At the time of its release, the film was widely ignored because of its contentious subject matter. Hannah, who is a child of Holocaust survivors, argues that Israel's policies on Arab refugees are responsible for the crimes her client is accused of. She presents a case that her client would continually sneak into Israel not to perpetrate acts of terrorism, but to reclaim his home, illegally seized by the Israeli government. Not the best film regarding the political strife in the Middle East (the movie drags during certain parts, and the characters are seriously one-dimensional), Hanna K. is nonetheless something of a bold effort with its timely and divisive themes.
9. David & Fatima (2008)
David & Fatima is basically Romeo & Juliet, but with a Jew and a Muslim. David, the handsome Israeli Jew, falls in love with Fatima, the beautiful Palestinian Muslim. Of course, their love is forbidden, and so the romance must be kept a secret from friends and family. Things get violent when their secret is out, and the two are forced to risk it all to be together. While the plot is cliché and sappy, the film works thanks to an engrossing script, great performances and the timely political commentary. The film delves in hope, and visits the perpetual themes of love and acceptance, but is honest in its portrayal of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.