By Aurela Berila, contributing writer
“Colliding Dreams,” a documentary by Joseph Dorman and Oren Rudavsky, explores the birth of the Zionist Dream, its translation into reality and its implications, through the eyes and minds of the movement’s dreamers, keeping an impartial tone throughout. It provides an introspective glance at the source of this vision by giving the viewers an understanding of the motives behind controversial events and how they relate to ancient, recent and current inhabitants of the land in question.
Dorman and Rudavsk focus on the people who have lived the reality of Zionism as they recount their own experiences and reflect on them. We hear from a number of people, Israeli and Palestinians, each with their own nuanced stories stemming from distinctive backgrounds that merge into a seamless narrative aided by compelling imagery, footage and writings. The voice of the narrator occasionally joins in to clarify historical narratives and to provide context, but the main voice remains that of the people as an effective conveyer of the message.
We get to know the subjects and their sentimental attachment balanced by their critical judgment of the situation. The Israelis that are interviewed all share the same nationalism that stems from the need for a uniting land, which was ultimately the origin of the whole movement, but to various degrees. The majority recognizes the merit and fault of Zionism and assesses a situation brought about by ideological clashes between and among the two fronts involved.
The origin of the Zionism is expressed to arise from a sincere source: the desperation of a people rejected and discriminated against in Europe and Russia and their longing for a place to call home. But through its realization, this dream steps on someone else’s toes: the Palestinians who had already settled in the region and lived under Ottoman Empire rule. With the collapse of the latter, the Jewish population scattered around Europe to find itself in the middle of a dilemma: Assimilate or strive for a country of their own in a land they do not possess.
As it happens, anti-Semitic developments make it appear that the second option is the only one. And so, a meeting point for the majority of the Jewish population, as well as for all the subjects interviewed, is the need for the creation of a uniting state, but what is suggested to set people apart is the extent to which they are willing to go to meet their goal. They realize they had been disillusioned, failing to see that their dream is subjective. What to them is a born right is the same to someone else. This sheds a bright light on the situation and helps us understand the bias behind the Zionist ideas as the main message being conveyed here. The relationship between different views and their righteousness is a tricky issue that this documentary successfully tackles.
“Colliding Dreams,” accompanied by a compelling score to set the tone, ends with a lamentation for the failure that has accompanied a success of the past and an apprehension for the future leaving an open ending that does not hint at a possible solution but suggests that time will heal all.