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Deadly Currents

Year: 1991
Language: English
Format: 35mm Colour
Runtime: 115 min
Director: Simcha Jacobovici
Producer: Simcha Jacobovici, Elliott Halpern, Ric Bienstock
Executive Producer: David Green, Jeff Sackman, Robert Topol
Cinematographer: Mark Mackay
Editor: Steve Weslak
Sound: Chaim Gilad
Music: Stephen Price
Production Company: Associated Producers
Shot during the height of the first Intifada, Deadly Currents is a fast-paced, even-handed documentary that probes the dangerous and murky world of Arab-Israeli politics. Israeli-born director Simcha Jacobovici examines the psychological and historical basis of the conflict and explores the potential for a possible resolution.

The film offers little to encourage optimism. An Israeli hawk compares the age-old dispute to a Western movie and likens Israel’s military might to John Wayne or Gary Cooper. Nobody touches them, he says, "because they know they would suffer a permanent physical inconvenience." One Palestinian suggests in a matter-of-fact manner that he would like to see all Jews leave not just the West Bank and Gaza but the entire Middle East.

Jacobovici obtained remarkably candid interviews from Palestinians and Jews of all classes, but in this real-life drama’s vast cast of characters, two figures stand out: the first is an Israeli soldier who struggles with the brutality of what he is asked to do every day; the other is a half-crazed street performer in Jerusalem who claims Arab-Israeli parentage, douses himself in blood-red paint and screams at passersby, daring them to question the logic of his actions. He’s an apt, but troubling, symbol of the region’s violent impasse.

An incisive and complex report from an emotional war zone, Deadly Currents offers an important indictment of the violence and inflexibility that continually stifles Middle East peace efforts. The film won numerous awards at international film festivals, as well as a Genie Award for Feature Length Documentary.