Movie review: Notes to Eternity

1 comment
From the documentary Notes to Eternity.
From the documentary Notes to Eternity.

This locally made crowd-funded documentary, completed over a period of 10 years, bills itself as "a meditation on the Israel-Palestine conflict", a choice of words that is as perhaps as reflective of its pace as its style.

It's packed with detail and takes a commendably long view of the issues, though it makes no pretence that it is offering a balanced perspective.

Unabashedly conceived as a corrective to the dominant Israeli, not to say Zionist, narrative, it offers as our guides four main "characters", three of whom are Jews and trenchant critics of Israel: Noam Chomsky, who first started speaking out about this subject in 1962; the often wild-eyed Norman Finkelstein, who calls himself "the only Jew to be banned from Israel"; Harvard political economist Sara Roy.

The fourth is the veteran Beirut-based journo Robert Fisk, and Finkelstein's interpreter, Musa Abu Hashhash, a Palestinian worker for an Israeli human rights group, makes illuminating appearances.

The clarity and comprehensiveness of the vision are impressive, but Cordery has gathered a massive amount of material, and the film is handicapped by her unwillingness to leave stuff out.

In repeated long sequences the camera travels - through London, say, or down a corridor - when that movement advances the film not a bit.

When Fisk tells us that the Lone Ranger theme was one of his Desert Island Discs picks, the only way it can be relevant is to paint him as self-regarding, which is surely not her intention.

Meanwhile and conversely, the Balfour Declaration is referred to as important, but we are not told what it declared; and graffiti on the West Bank wall are shown in close-ups too fleeting to read.

All this adds up to a film that risks trespassing on the viewer's indulgence and being an artefact for the already knowledgeable. Given the enduring importance of the subject matter, that's a shame.

Verdict: Comprehensive and long-winded


Director: Sarah Cordery

Running time: 140 mins

Rating: M (violence and content that may disturb)

- NZ Herald

Get the news delivered straight to your inbox

Receive the day’s news, sport and entertainment in our daily email newsletter


Have your say

1200 characters left

By and large our readers' comments are respectful and courteous. We're sure you'll fit in well.
View commenting guidelines.

Sort by
  • Oldest

© Copyright 2016, NZME. Publishing Limited

Assembled by: (static) on production apcf03 at 28 Oct 2016 14:09:48 Processing Time: 365ms