Notes To Eternity is a serious-minded and deceptively even-handed piece of film-making.
Deceptive, in that while three of its four lead interviewees are these days recognised as veteran campaigners for Palestinian rights, all three also share Jewish heritage, family history and genuine sympathy with the Jewish cause
Casting Sara Roy, Norman Finkelstein and Noam Chomsky as her commentators was the masterstroke (and, I guess, the purpose) of New Zealand-based director Sarah Cordery's film.
Between them, there is a depth of knowledge of and compassion for the Israeli/Palestinian conflict that is far beyond most politicians or media talking-heads.
The trio – and author Robert Fisk – build up a nuanced and surprising picture of how modern Israel came to be and of where – and where not – its existence is still reconcilable with the existence of modern Palestine.
While the ongoing tragedy of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict provides the framework for Sarah Cordery’s highly accomplished notes to eternity, this intelligently conceived and skilfully constructed documentary isn’t so much an examination of the conflict (although it does offer an overview of the situation) as a philosophical meditation on why this appalling state of affairs – this “affront to humanity” as Cordery rightly describes it – has continued for nearly seven decades, and with little hope of resolution.
Also published on Elsewhere.co.nz.
Renowned critics of Israeli policies – Noam Chomsky, Norman Finkelstein,
Sara Roy and Robert Fisk – provide personal substance and historical
perspective to their arguments in this impressive film by New Zealander
In a world where political debate often resembles a shouting match, it is disconcerting to encounter a thoroughly political film that credibly assumes the voice of reason. New Zealand filmmaker Sarah Cordery’s long-gestated consideration of the Israel–Palestine conflict draws its steady tone from three key commentators whose views have been shaped to various degrees by their own personal histories. All three are Jews who grew up immersed in Jewish culture. Now Noam Chomsky, Norman Finkelstein and Sara Roy are amongst the most eloquent of the disaffected, calling for justice for the Palestinian people.