on 23 February 2009
It is seldom that a documentary moves one to tears, but this one certainly does. The aspirations expressed by this DVD seem to be seriously challenged by recent events in the Israli-Palestinian conflict. But that fact only raises the importance of this message.
A great lesson, not only about the power of music, but about the importance of learning to be in dialogue across boundaries despite, and because of, even the most fundamental differences. Also a great lesson about courageous leadership by Daniel Barenboim and Edward Said.
on 9 April 2010
This movie provides excellent and compelling evidence for the tremendous power that lies in music, when performed as a group and in an orchestra. The vision, intellectual strength and determination of Edward Said and Daniel Barenboim in bringing together young musicians from Israel, Palestine and the Middle East in the joint endeavour of practicing and performing classical music at an extremely high standard has not only contributed to empower these young people, but has also created a forum for meeting and getting to know each other - for some a "voyage" into a so far completely unexplored sphere. The movie, which masterfully illustrates both the musical part of the practicing sessions as well as the discussions and disputes among the participants, is moving and impressive at the same time. It is highly recommended to anyone in the region as well as elsewhere interested in finding and exploring ways to foster understanding and mutual trust and to pave the way to a peaceful and harmonious (in the end!) life in this conflict ridden part of the world.
on 22 April 2010
This singular documentary and concert recording reflect on the harmony which is possible if the focus is on a shared humanity rather than the differences between cultures. The Jewish conductor/pianist, Daniel Barenboim, and the Palestinian literary theorist, Edward Said do not suggest an easy solution to the Palestine-Israeli dilemma, but rather show through their deep friendship that ethnicity does not need to be a barrier between people. The interviews with the young musicians give a glimpse of how the youth of the Middle East react to the conflict in their region. The director finds a fine balance between informing a wider public of the experiences of people living in the Middle East and enchanting the viewer with exquisite music.
The documentary chronicles the development of the West-Eastern Divan Orchestra through the first six years of its existance and culminates in the realisation of the dream to perform in Ramallah. It is a testimony to the power of music.