In Theatres: THE WANTED 18

TheWanted18-2_720_405_90Coming to theatres today, Friday, June 19: THE WANTED 18

Amer Shomali and Paul Cowan’s story of the state of Israel vs a herd of cattle debuted at Toronto last year. Other screenings have included Abu Dhabi, Tallinn Black Nights, Thessaloniki Doc, and the Human Rights Watch fest, among others.

Decidedly in the category of stranger than fiction, Shomali and Cowan’s mix of talking heads and animated re-enactments reveals the now legendary tale of Palestinian rebellion via the unlikely vehicle of dairy farming. During the First Intifada in the late 1980s, a group of Palestinians in Beit Sahour in the Occupied Territories managed to purchase eighteen cows from a kibbutz, aiming for a level of self-sufficiency from the restrictions of dairy products from Israel, despite not having a clue how to work with cattle. When the Israeli government learned of their action, they began to crackdown, arguing that the cows were a threat to national security. In response the dairy collective set out to foil their persecutors, hiding the cows over an eight-day cowhunt as an act of collective civil disobedience. This intriguing, if farcical, background affords the filmmakers with massive potential to create a distinctive view into Israeli/Palestinian relations, but it’s largely squandered due to ill-conceived creative decisions. While the material’s absurdity makes animation an obvious fit, the crude claymation employed is unappealing, and, worse still, the choice to anthropomorphize the cows as strident California-speaking stereotypes is bizarre, throughly offputting, and not funny – and ends up derailing the project as a whole.

Leave a comment

Filed under Documentary, Film, Releases

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.