A Bottle in the Gaza Sea 2013 PG CC

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(26) IMDb 7.2/10
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Via a letter in a bottle, a teenage French-Israeli girl forms a strong bond with a young Palestinian man on the other side of the Gaza Sea. Official Selection - Busan Int'l Film Festival.

Agathe Bonitzer, Mahmud Shalaby
1 hour, 39 minutes

Product Details

Genres Drama, International
Director Thierry Binisti
Starring Agathe Bonitzer, Mahmud Shalaby
Supporting actors Hiam Abbass, Riff Cohen, Abraham Belaga, Jean-Philippe Écoffey, Smadi Wolfman, Salim Dau, Loai Nofi, François Loriquet, Abdallah El Akal, Max Olearchik
Studio Film Movement
MPAA rating PG (Parental Guidance Suggested)
Captions and subtitles English Details

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"A Bottle in the Gaza Sea" is both melancholy and hopeful in tone and I think that's what makes it well worth a viewing.
K. Harris
Rarely has a film so judiciously and sensitively show both the Palestinian view as well as the Israeli view in the constant struggle that seems without end.
Grady Harp
As the story plays out, you have no idea whether they will ultimately find their way to each other or become innocent victims of the conflict.
Lost in Vegas

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Grady Harp HALL OF FAMETOP 100 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on March 29, 2013
Format: DVD
`Une bouteille à la mer' or A Bottle in the Gaza Sea is at once an incredibly tender love story restricted to the Internet and an intensive exploration of both side of the Israeli and Palestinian dilemma that begs for resolution. The story is by Valérie Zenatti and has been adapted for the screen and directed by French writer/director Thierry Binisti. While the content of the relationship between the main characters is fragile it serves as an exposé of how seemingly impossible life must be living in that small area of the world so vulnerable to repeated hostilities.

The film opens sensitively at the beach - there is a barbed wire barricade separating parts of the beach - and a young man (Eytan Levine - Abraham Belaga) is throwing a whiskey bottle into the ocean. Inside the bottle is a letter from Etyan's sister Tal (Agathe Bonitzer) requesting that whoever finds the bottle to please email her where the bottle was found and who found it. Tal is 17 and has recently moved from France to Jerusalem with her family. She is puzzled by the constant hostilities between the Palestinians in Gaza and the West Bank and the Israelis. When the bottle is discovered it is found by young Naim (Mahmud Shalaby) who at 20 years of age still lives with his mother Intessar (the brilliant actress Hiam Abbass) who works in a hospital (the father is dead) and Naim makes a living delivering Tee Shirts with his cousin whose father makes the Tee Shirts. There is constant strife in Gaza with the Hamas entering homes and abusing citizens suspected of being traitors and Naim lives in fear after he is interrogated one night. Naim emails Tal in response to her request for identity of the recipient of her letter and very gradually the two grow to know each other by email.
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Format: DVD
The sensitive international drama "A Bottle in the Gaza Sea" reflects on the Israeli and Palestinian conflict in an extremely personal way. It posits that those on both sides hold more common ground than you might imagine. But between history and politics, the bad blood continues into the next generation. With children indoctrinated into preexisting prejudices due to almost constant bloodshed, there seems to be no potential end in sight. What if, however, we could open a dialogue? What if we could see beyond an ideology and see the individuals involved? The confused teen at the heart of Thierry Binisti's heartfelt film is looking for nothing more than understanding. The violence that she witnesses close to home cause her to search for answers, and this quest leads to the unlikely long distance friendship at the heart of the film. In many ways, this is a coming-of-age story told from two unique perspectives. And as both of the story threads play out, the movie expertly contrasts the different worlds as well as showcasing their commonalities.

The movie opens with a young soldier throwing a bottle into the Gaza Sea (hey, that would be a great idea for the title). We soon learn that the bottle contains a letter from a young woman in Jerusalem. Tal (Agathe Bonitzer) is a recent transplant from France and is horrified by the violence that she sees on her very street corner. The letter asks for the recipient to email her and describe his/her life to help understand the ongoing conflict. A young Palestinian, Naim (Mahmud Shalaby), is intrigued enough to answer. An initial wariness leads to increasing candor and the two youths find something very special blossoming between them. Each sees a hope in the other to fight for something different, something better.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Paul Allaer TOP 100 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on February 14, 2013
Format: DVD
I recently saw this movie at the 2013 Jewish and Israeli Film Festival here in Cincinnati. I now notice that this movie is scheduled for a DVD release by Film Movement. I absolutely love the Film Movement library of foreign and indie movies, so this makes complete sense to me.

"A Bottle in the Gaza Sea" (2011 release from France/Israel; 99 min.) brings the story of the 17 yr. old French-Jewish girl Tal whose family moved from Paris to Jerusalem. Tal is frustrated by the thread of violence from the Gaza Strip and throws a bottle in the sea, hoping someone in Gaza will get it and respond to her invitation to correspond with her via email. A group of young men in Gaza in fact do find the bottle, and 20 yr. old Naim emails her. After initial suspiscion between the two, a fragile friendship develops, and Naim takes up French at the Gaza French Cultural Center, with the hope of eventually getting a scholarship to study in France. Meanwhile Tal's brother Eytan serves in the Israeli Defense Force and is posted at/near the Gaza Strip. Will Eyran come in harm's way? Will Naim get the opportunity to study in France? Will Tal and Naim meet in person? To tell you more would ruin your viewing experience, you'll just have to see for yourself how it all plays out.

Several comments: first and foremost, this movie is a prime example showcasing that behind all politics there are people, real human beings with real feelings. While Tal and Naim email back and forth in the beginning, they mistrust each other but eeventually they learn that on the other side there is a real person who probably has little influence over how politics are decided.
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