I watched The Bubble last weekend with KJ. My interest in it is that it is about an Israeli solider and Palestian who fall in love. And it is a gay love story. So, I thought, considering that Israelis and Palestinians generally seem to be able to come together on one issue, their dislike for gays, this movie may have some good things to say about conflict, fighting for rights, fighting for life, etc. I thought, “this movie is already going against the grain, maybe it will have some radical ideas.”
So, Ashraf, the Palestinian, and Noam, the Israeli, meet at a checkpoint. Maybe it is my own internalized oppression, the images I see on the media, words I hear, maybe it was that I am a seasoned movie viewer. I knew the moment I saw Ashraf what would happen. But before I get to that, let’s discuss some of the other bobo things in the movie. (I say discuss, because there are spaces for comments, though this clearly is just me at the moment…anyway).
Ashraf gets into Tel Aviv and meets Noam – Noam had dropped his identification card. Ashraf wants to remain in Tel Aviv, but must be there illegally. Noam’s ahole roommate agrees to get AShraf a job at his coffee shop, but with a Jewish name and the agreement that everyone pretends he is Jewish. So, why is Noam’s roommate an ahole? Let’s see, first off, he constantly talks about not wanting to be political. First off, you live in a fucking political world, and an area of the world that is entirely run by politics. (anyone who says they do not like to talk politics or don’t care about it, well, too bad, you are in it no matter what). Also, Noam’s roommate clearly does not like Ashraf or Palestinians at all. Noam’s other roommate is involved in politics. She is a leftist and she and her leftist friends are planning a Rave for Peace. Apparently getting high and dancing to trance music will bring peace to Israel and Palestine.
The thing is, none of them really defend Ashraf or Palestinians at key moments. For example, they meet another Israeli soldier at a bar who says something against Palestinians and Noam responds with “Oh, yeah, well, we all hate Arabs” while patting Ashraf on the shoulder. Really?! I mean, I get that you are trying to keep Ashraf from being found out, but really?! And it is not even addressed later on.
Also, how about the fact that Noam’s friends are developed. They are given some sort of character, some dimension. Even his roommate’s boyfriend is developed enough for the viewer to gain some sort of understanding of him. Ashraf’s family and brother-in-law on the other hand are completely flat. His brother-in-law is just angry and all we see of his sister is preparation for a wedding and her hate for Ashraf’s true identity when he outs himself. Every other Palestinian character is simply window dressing.
A huge point is made by Ashraf that he is distancing himself from his brother-in-law’s fanatic ways. Clearly, his brother is part of some sort of resistance. I guess fighting for your life is not important to Ashraf. And to make him likable the director and writer felt he needed to be not political as well. In fact, he isn’t even developed as well as Noam. Even Ashraf’s sister talks against her new husband’s fundamentalism. “And he swore he would stop when we got married.”
So, here is the best part. What I knew was going to eventually happen. After Ashraf’s sister is killed by accidental fire and Ashraf has already accepted the fact that he cannot be out to his family, he decides to take his brother-in-law’s place as a suicide bomber. Yup, of course. I guess all Palestinians are crazy, right? I guess they are all evil, right? I mean, this just proves the suspicions of everyone, but Noam. So, what is the moral? The moral is, do not trust Palestinians.
Ashraf blows himself up in front of th cafe he worked in, oh and right next to Noam, so they die together. How romantic. Meanwhile, Noam and his ahole roommate have already had a discussion about how they have never hooked up because they are the best of friends and soulmates, blah blah blah. So as soon as Ashraf blows himself and Noam up, cut over to roommate who feels a sudden sharp pain and KNOWS there is something wrong.
This movie was terrible. It was stereotypical and angering. It is racist. It is bullshit. Way to keep feeding into those lies.