Programmed by Aurélien Marsais
In 1942 the historical narrative of Massada was chosen, enriched and made into the founding myth of the new Jewish community of Israel. It was hoped that, by identifying themselves with the heroes of Massada,the newcomers would find a meaning in their contemporary history while at the same time developing their survival instinct. Over 60 years after the recycling of this myth, the true nature of the heros of Massada, their fanaticism and dubious morality again come to light.
Avi Mograbi’s filmmaking is known for its unique approaches – he stages himself facing the camera, plays roles and sometimes takes the roundabout way of documentary comedy to better scrutinise Israel, his country. In “Avenge but one of my two eyes”, released at the end of the second intifada, the era seems more sombre for the director, who films the humiliation and intimidation to which the Israeli Army subjects the Palestinians on an almost daily basis. So as not to explode, Mograbi finds two ways to open up discussion about these abuses: on the one hand, he establishes a parallel with the historical national narrative where the roles of oppressor and oppressed are reversed, and on the other, he converses with a Palestinian friend living in the hell of the ‘other side of the wall’. A very necessary accompaniment as the viewer rages at the crass absurdity of the oppression.
Here is an interview with Avi Mograbi conducted by Jean-Marie Barbe in August 2021 during the États généraux du film documentaire, in Lussas. In it, the director talks about his films and in particular his latest one, “The First 54 Years - A Short Manual of Military Occupation”.