On Wednesday evening (13 October 2021) a group of Humans without Borders volunteers met at the open-air theatre Teatron Bahatzer in Nataf, a small village in the Jerusalem hills. Our hosts, Hadassah and Eitan, in addition to all their cultural activities, are enthusiastic members of our NGO. I suspect that many of our volunteers were a bit over-cautious and afraid of a chilly evening, but this certainly was not the case, in every respect.
The chatter over tea, cakes, and bourkas was a delight, with volunteers – who have few opportunities to meet – talking about the Palestinian families they aid, the health of the children, struggling with the checkpoints, traffic in Jerusalem, and a host of other subjects. It was difficult to get everyone to sit down for the main event of the evening, the screening of the movie, The Inner Tour, directed by Raanan Alexandrowitcz.
In 2001, a group of Palestinian tourists board a bus for a three-day sightseeing trip to Israel. The windows of the bus are like the bars of a prison cell and open onto an unknown portrait of Israel. And looking from the outside in, we get an unusual glimpse into Palestinian society. The trip is, in reality, an unfinished journey traversing time and criss-crossing between the emotional recollections of a vanished past and the harsh realities of the present day. This is their homeland, but they are visiting it as tourists. This is the state that has occupied them for decades, but it is also a country, just like any other, with people not very different from them. There is no happy ending, no resolution, just a return home to bleak realities and difficult memories.
Aner Preminger, director, producer, professor of cinematography (and partner of one of our active coordinators) introduced the movie and provided an in-depth overview of the goals and methodology of Alexandrowitcz. His talk, and the following discussions with the audience, were fascinating and enlightening.
This event was part of a tradition of seven years of screenings of movies that have dealt with the daily reality in Palestine. At Teatron Bahatzer we have found a splendid way to maintain social contact while complying with the many diverse regulations related to Covid-19.