Monday, July 21, 2008

La Zona

Its trailer ( makes it look like a mediocre thriller, but make no mistake. Rodrigo Pla's "La Zona", currently in Israeli Theatres, is one of the most merciless, disturbing and fascinating films you'll ever chance to watch. It tells the story of a juvenile delinquent trapped inside a posh gated community, following a burglery to which he was an accomplice and which ended at a shootout. The hunt for him, conducted independently by members of the community, exposes all the ills of society within and without the complex's concrete walls, from plain police corruption down to self-loving, pretend-activism (at one crucial point, a more moral members of the community urges a like-minded friend to act quickly and save the child. Rather than act, he sits her down for a bleeding heart conversation on the philosophical folly of life within walls. It's one of the most cynical scenes i've ever witnessed on a screen.)

La Zona attacked me just as my mind is full of thoughts about money and its social implications. Ehud Olmert's lavish and corrupt life style, bought (such are suspicions) by cheating American philantropists, is coming to light over the last few months, but the experience is also personal: This past week I traveled around the country as guide to a highly affluent Parisian family (at one point they discussed an email exchange with "Sarco"). we stayed at the delightful and firmly secured complex of the Scots hotel in Tiberias. Another gig - that of restaurant critic, took me to Moule- Yam, One of Israel's finest culinary establishments, where bottles of wine are sold for the price of an avarage Israeli's bimonthly salary. I had fun in both cases, and I'm no advocate of poverty, I realize that only great social gaps allow the culinary art of Moule Yam and the decadent gardens of the Scots Hotel to exist, but compramise and social justice are better still. As La Zona demonstrates, high walls of concrete and of fine seafood can easily obscure that from the eye.


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