The Inner Tour

The Inner Tour


Reviewed by: Keith Hennessey Brown

Prior to the latest collapse in the Middle East peace process, one of the few ways in which Palestinians from the Occupied Territories were able to enter Israel was as tourists.

This documentary, subdivided into seven somewhat arbitrary chapters, follows a bus load of Palestinians on a three day tour through the lands they still regard as their home, culminating in a night in Tel Aviv.

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Though somewhat slow to begin with, The Inner Tour picks up after the first major tour stop at a kibbutz. Its visitor centre, manned by one of the original 1930s volunteers, and subsequent reactions of the Palestinians, sums up the complex multi-faceted history of the region.

To the kibbutznik, the story is one of heroic volunteers establishing themselves in the face of a hostile population. To the Palestinians, it is the loss of their land, dignity and heritage.

As the passengers share their stories - from the elderly patriarch whose parents and children were killed in the 1948 fighting to the young mother whose husband is serving a life sentence for his part in the intifada - they get to know each other and we get to know them.

Here, the benefit of the filmmakers' approach, letting the Palestinians speak for themselves without comment, interruption or axe grinding, shows through, like a real-life version of Spike Lee's Get On The Bus, transposed to Israel and devoid of heavy handed, didactic point scoring.

With Inner Tours no longer a possibility in the current context, the film represents a valuable document in the the history of Israel and Palestine, another chapter in the "two parallel and contradictory books, which reflect the history of our country", as the filmmakers aptly put it.

Reviewed on: 09 Aug 2001
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Documentary sees a busload of Palestinian tourists visit Israel.
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Director: Ra'anan Alexandrowicz

Year: 2001

Runtime: 97 minutes

Country: Israel / Palestine


EIFF 2001

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