Monday, November 28, 2005

The Holy Land (2003)-R

The Holy Land (2003) is a film that is disconnected with many hard to follow characters and with an ending that can best be described as unsettling. Nonetheless. I highly recommend this movie. The film takes on arguably the two most important issues of the early 21st Century, namely religious fundamentalism and sexuality. The film is about a Rabbi student in Jerusalem who is distracted from his religious studies by masturbation. A senior Rabbi teacher recommends he seek out a prostitute as a means to “cleanse” these obsessions. However, once he leaves the safety of his protected world and protected worldviews, he becomes immersed in the contradictions of religious order verses the spiritual-sexual journeys of others. The film brilliantly uses foreground-background filming to mix the themes of religion and sexuality. In one scenes a prostitute naps on the roof of a Jerusalem building with the background of “The Dome of the Rock” (one of the most sacred sites of Islam), in another scene a bar owner wakes up from a drinking-sexual binge overlooking the “Waling Wall”, in a third scene the prostitute and Rabbi student walk hand in hand outside the Church of the Sepulchre (the site of Jesus’ crucifixion) and finally a long close up shot of a young ascetic Jewish woman’s nipple as she is preparing to nurse her infant. These scenes are not presented in an offensive manner but more as passing observations. Despite the flaws of this film, it is well worth seeing

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