9 Star Hotel
This unflinching documentary follows Ahmed and Muhammad, two of the many Palestinians who illegally cross the border into the Israeli city of Modiin looking for work. Together they share food, belongings and stories, and live under the constant threat of imprisonment from soldiers and police. With raw, handheld images, this disconcerting yet touching film documents friendship, nostalgia and the uncompromising urge to survive.
Interview with director Ido Haar, Original Theatrical Trailer
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Top customer reviews
Couple of further thoughts: this is a rather short movie, so make sure to check out the DVD bonus materials, which include an excellent 10 min. interview with the Israeli director, Ido Haar, who brings some nice insights on why he made this documentary, and what it was like to make this movie. For one, as it turns out, Haar does not speak any Arabic, so he would only after the fact (in the editing room) learn what the Palestine men were talking about! Second, this movie premiered in the US at the 2007 Tribeca Film Festival, and was very well received by the critics. This was my second time seeing it (it's been maybe 5 years when I saw it first), and it hasn't lost any of its powerful impact. Last, I had the good fortune of visiting Israel a few years back, and I can only second the comments made by the Palestine guys: yes, Israeli women are (generally speaking) quite gorgeous!
Bottom line: "9 Star Hotel" is a moving documentary that contributes from a more human angle to the never-ending debate on the Israeli-Palestine conflict. "9 Star Hotel" is HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!
While the 'real' story is newsworthy in and of itself, 9 Star also contains a storyline about friendship and loyalty and family and 'what it takes' to survive.
Interestingly, in an entirely different way, another recent film from the region had similar imapct for me. Syrian Bride, the story of a planned-marriage-against-the odds, also carries incredible impact. Built in reverse to 9 Star (a narrative fiction approach), Syrian Bride's topline story is one of union, but its underlying message is one of struggle-against-the-odds. I cannot help but wonder why this region of the world cannot simply get it together.
In a world where most films deal with nothing other than entertainment, both 9 Star Hotel and Syrian Bride bring to light daring stories that provoke thought and enlightenment.
Cheers to KOCH Lorber for having enough bravado to release such incredible quality works to the market.
I hope Haar will do another film on the same theme, with less of the so-called dialogues.