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Dare to make them laugh

by Archives March 17, 2009

You can’t help but feel the one-sided hoorah emanating from Marc Berribi’s film Faces. It’s a celebration of the Face to Face crew’s playful take on the tension between Israeli and Palestine.
Face to Face have concocted a plan to get Israelis and Palestinians together on one front, that “front” being the walls that make up the concrete barriers that keep them at a “safe” yet unfriendly distance.
Face to Face have taken tight portraits of citizens from both sides of the divide and placed them side-by-side on large posters of various sizes. With agility they paste them in highly exposed areas of the border cities.
In one of the most celebrated sets, two priests, one imam and one a rabbi, make a funny face, and it’s in this vein that the crew nobly fly around on there righteous mission. The expose seems like a game to them and they invite others to join in.
No one wants to be a party pooper, but the film lacks a critique of itself. The crew seems like a bunch of aloof foreigners who have all the right philosophical mantras in place, only they have no real investment in the outcome of there actions in this conflict zone.
Face to Face and Berribi are so sure that what they’re doing is positive that they have seemingly chosen to not explore the alternative, but this spirited energy makes the film all the more compelling, because what they do know is how to have fun. Their “grain of salt” attitude is refreshingly optimistic and one can almost believe that true happiness is as contagious as they make it seem.
The film is worth a watch. Reactions by locals are picture perfect and the soundtrack gives the film a steady timbre (don’t worry, “Why can’t we be friends?” didn’t make the cut). Funny photos of happy faces: you want to believe that herein lays the solution and for 72 minutes, you just might.

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