Ahed’s Knee, Stepping Out of the Story

I watched Ahed’s Knee, an Israeli film by Nadav Lapid, a very advanced director whose stories fragment and detour in shocking ways.

Ahed AlTamimi is a teenage Palestinian activist. She was born in 1997 in the village of Nabi Saleh, which is located in the occupied West Bank. Her family has been involved in resistance against the Israeli occupation for years and she has been participating since she was a little girl.

In December 2017, Ahed slapped an Israeli soldier who was guarding her house. The incident went viral on social media and led to Ahed being arrested by Israeli authorities and put into prison for eight months.

An Israeli member of Parliament suggested she be shot in the knee. The film starts focused on producing a show about Ahed’s Knee and then becomes more about the director’s journey and censorship in showing his film.

The film starts focused on producing a show about Ahed’s knee, but quickly evolves into an exploration of the decay of Israeli society and the rise of censorship as a way to protect such a decaying society.

Numerous dance scenes show the randomness of cultural production and arbitrariness of censorship. It is also a surreal representation of the different facets of Israeli society. The director here is making serious subjects not serious by using dance to represent them.

The camera is hijacked later by a monologue that I saw as a way for the director to speak to the government and through it to the Israeli people.

The film disintegrates and questions the concept of negative aggrievement, toxic tensions, oppressive systems, irrational censorship, and through the desert settings, the emptiness at the end of this whole project called Israel.

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