With a somewhat uninspiring title, and a late screening on Sunday evening the cinema wasnt exactly full when I went to see Promises. Yet Promises was one of the best films I saw over the weekend, and I was very glad that I hadnt rushed home. Filmed through the eyes of 6 children living in Israel Promises manages to cut to the very heart of the conflict in the Middle East.
Moishe, Mahmood, Shlomo, Yarko and Danial, Faraj and Sanabel all live within only twenty minutes of each other yet they share little in common except the experience of war. Faraj a young Palestinian boy saw his best friend shot by an Israeli soldier when he was just five years old, Sanabel a Palestinian girl has hardly seen her father since he was jailed 2 years ago for being an outspoken journalist, and Moiche an Israeli boy lost a good friend whilst Promises was in production. The conflict has left them all deeply scarred and has helped to install a feeling of bitterness and hatred between the communities. Yet with the help of the filmmakers Shapiro and BZ Goldberg the children gradually learn to become friends with one another, and see each other on a human level rather than as political opponents.
Promises is an incredibly evocative film that manages to deal with difficult and complex issues in an original and moving way, presents a balanced view of the trauma of the middle east, and you are amazed by support film has received, number of donations that have been given to make the production possible.