Before we begin, if you are intending to see the Israeli/Palestinian film “The Bubble,” stop reading right now.
I knew going in that the film was about the Israeli/Palestinian conflict, but I can’t resist movies with gay themes (a hangover from the decade upon decade during which there were no films with gay themes), and I’d read a review which indicated that it had a positive ending It’s a moving film effectively demonstrating the myriad of problems and mutual hostility between Jews and Palestinians. But its emphasis was on a sweetly romantic tale of an Israeli soldier who meets a young Palestinian at a checkpoint between Israel and the West Bank. They fall in love despite the problems all around them, and in effect live in a bubble of their own. On this level, the film is truly moving and uplifting.
I was therefore totally unprepared for the last fifteen minutes of the movie, in which the Palestinian’s sister is accidentally killed by Israeli troops and, in the last terrible scene, he blows himself and his lover up in a suicide bombing.
No! No, no, no, no, no, no, no!!! I’m sorry, but I’m out’a here. I do not need this. I do not need an agonizingly slow-motion close-up of the two young lovers in the final instant of their lives as the bomb goes off, the one looking confused, the other infinitely sad.
I left the theater furious at being cheated out of hope. It’s been several days now, and I’m still furious. I have thought of the film almost constantly since, which is, I suppose, exactly what the people behind the film intended. To that end, they most certainly succeeded but, for me, not in the way they wanted.
It certainly isn’t as though I had no idea of what is going on in the world. I haven’t been living in a vacuum (or a bubble) all these years. I am already far more than sufficiently aware of all the madness in the world, all the pointless stupidity and hatred and cruelty and pain and sadness. They are impossible to avoid. It is simply that I see absolutely no need to run out and deliberately expose myself to more. And while there are undoubtedly many people who somehow have been sleeping through the past 50 years of history who need to be reminded of the harsh realities of the world. I am not one of them, and I truly resent having gone to the film. I am not a puppy who has just peed on the carpet and needs to have his nose rubbed in it.
I cannot live without hope; without the belief that despite often overwhelming evidence to the contrary, there is more good than evil in the world. In a voice-over at the very end of the film, the Palestinian says that someday, perhaps, things will change. And he is right. But seeing him die did little to encourage this belief.
I hope you will excuse the brevity of this post, but I think I’ve said just about all that needs to be said for today.
New entries are posted every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. Please come back.