Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Thoughts on the script: Gaza

I love stories that take a situation I've always taken for granted and flip perspective. Today I read the Black List script Gaza by Frank Deasy because - well, because that giant clusterfuck in the desert is sort of prominent in the new right now. And it definitely flipped the switch on perspective.

We hear all the time about how important it is that we stay good friends with Israel and everybody in America knows Hamas is a bunch of terrorists and Arabs are evil and plan to kill us all if they ever get the chance because they hate Peace. As they hate hell, all Montagues, and thee.

It's also possible I'm thinking of Tybalt.

It looks like Gaza has been picked up by the BBC, which makes sense. I very much doubt an American studio would produce this film without some major script changes. We can't have a script that makes Palestinians look like the victims.

Not that Gaza is all woe is me, I'm Arab. There is just as much stupid violence coming out of the Palestinian side in this screenplay as there is from the Israeli side, but since the protagonist spends most of the story inside the Gaza strip, we get the unique perspective of a culture of people who feel trapped within their own ghetto of a country.

The story is about Ruth Haas, a British lapsed Jewish doctor who journeys into Gaza to retrieve the body of her journalist daughter who has been murdered by Fatah soldiers. She learns about her daughter and the conflict that has consumed what used to be a beautiful, free country. Needless to say, she comes out a lot more aware than she goes in.

The writing is okay. The style is pretty standard and the character descriptions are terrible - for a long while at the beginning I was confounded in my attempt to figure out which character was Rose and which character was Ruth - but the story is just solid. The character relationships feel real and developed and full of complications.

But the best part about this script is how many thoughts ran through my head while I read it. It doesn't really try to answer any questions or find any permanent solutions to the problem in Gaza, but it does put forth a shitload of questions we all need to ask ourselves about our capacity for inhuman behavior.

It's got a mixed bag of an ending. There is optimism for certain characters but Gaza is fucked. I guess the point is, if you don't want to die in Gaza you have to get the hell out.

It's not an uplifting story. Especially since the second I closed the file I flipped on CNN and watched the fallout right there on my television, but it really helped me understand what the hell is going on in that Godforsaken land. I wish we could send Cher over there to smack every single one of those people in the face. Snap out of it!

1 comment:

  1. I'm going to have to read that. Hollywood almost always refuses to touch sympathetic stories about Muslims, Arabs, Palestinians and Middle Easterns (and even South Asians). Europeans, on the other hand, are much more open-minded about this shit.

    Slumdog Millionaire is one of the very few new Western films to come out about Muslims that have nothing to do with 9-11 or terrorists. *gasp*

    I fucking hate Hollywood sometimes.


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