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9 STAR HOTEL
(MALON 9 KOCHAVIM)
Best Documentary Jerusalem Intl Film Fest
"Like all good political documentaries, 9 Star Hotel is more anthropology than agitprop" -Village Voice
"Remarkable...Haar's powerful and terribly sad film speaks volumes, not just about life in contemporary Israel, but in the U.S. as well." -TV Guide
"Haar...retains his knack for casual intimacy -- for economically capturing a subject's personality in a fleeting vivid gesture or intense facial expression." -Variety
"Without lecturing us, this film speaks volumes about the messy collision of economics and politics." -TimeOut Chicago
Recommended! -Chicago Reader
Just as Mexicans cross U.S. borders illegally to find work as day laborers, thousands of Palestinians do likewise, into neighboring Israel, seeking jobs in construction. Comically referred to as their "9 Star Hotel" , Israeli filmmaker Ido Haar gained the trust of a group of nomadic young men whom he observed fleeing from police, risking their lives to cross highways at night, sleeping in makeshift hovels - a dramatic contrast to the luxury housing they build by day. "We think backwards - we never think forward. We are like scavengers, like those who harvest olives after the locust," one of his subjects confesses with lyrical simplicity. This is a devastating cinema verité portrait of young men caught in an economic and political maelstrom not of their own making - their dreams subsumed by the hard reality of day-to-day survival. Says Haar, "...one of the hardest things in this film was to see young men with a passion for life and a lot of vitality, but a potential that is being suppressed at all times, not only by Israel, but by cultural concerns." (Film Forum)
Directed by Ido Haar, Israel, 2006, 35mm, 78 mins. In Arabic & Hebrew with English subtitles.