GPFF Review: The People and the Olive

Global Peace Film Fest is an annual event held in Orlando. This year members of the RCC 100: Writing About Social Justice and Community class attended and wrote reviews on a selection of the films. Read all reviews here.

The People and the Olive, directed by Aaron Dennis, is an uplifting movie about six Americans who organize a run across the West Bank in Palestine to plant olive trees and raise awareness about the challenging lives of people there. The film’s promotional materials mislead; I thought the movie would mainly focus on olive farmers and the industry of olive farming.

Instead, I quickly learned that the movie’s focus rests more on showing the struggles that the citizens experience on a daily basis. The movie conveys that point by showing the runners being stopped numerous times by the Israeli military while running, and showing them being shot at by Israeli military while planting olive trees in Palestinian land. One of the elements that help make the movie effective is that it appeals emotionally as well as logically. It shows clips of women talking and kids playing in destroyed landscape. It provides statistics and history about the land and territories in Palestine. Although negative aspects are displayed, the movie illustrates the beauty of life in the territory by showing the territory’s charming landscape and the pure hearts and kindness of its people. The fact that the movie focuses more on the everyday lives of Palestinians makes it more successful because it discusses an issue that most people know almost nothing about. It also manages to discuss a painful topic in a very joyful and uplifting spirit which makes it more enjoyable.

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