Circus Palestina | Chicago Reader

Circus Palestina

A rickety Slavic circus pays a brief visit to a West Bank settlement, where its lion escapes, bringing out the comical paranoia in the Israeli army and the xenophobia in the Palestinian villagers. Writer-director Eyal Halfon based this amiable 1998 feature on a real event, intending it as a political parable, but it seldom rises above a morass of platitudes. Gestures and emotions are boldfaced so we can't possibly miss the regretful antagonism between Jews and Arabs, the biblical significance of the lion's freedom, or the corruptible morals of Israeli soldiers. The film won a multitude of awards from the Israeli Film Academy, probably more for its liberal intentions than for genuine craft.

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