Israeli filmmaker Ra’anan Alexandrowicz’s provocative new documentary on the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict, “The Viewing Booth,” opens at New York’s Museum of the Moving Image (MoMI) on Friday, August 6.
The Viewing Booth recounts a unique encounter between a filmmaker and a viewer — exploring the way meaning is attributed to non-fiction images in today’s day and age.
In a lab-like location, Maia Levy, a young Jewish American woman, watches videos portraying life in the occupied West Bank, while verbalizing her thoughts and feelings in real time. Maia is an enthusiastic supporter of Israel, and the images in the videos, depicting Palestinian life under Israeli military rule, contradict some of her deep-seated beliefs. Empathy, anger, embarrassment, innate biases, and healthy curiosity — all play out before our eyes as we watch her watch the images created by the Occupation. As Maia navigates and negotiates the images, which threaten her worldview, she also reflects on the way she sees them. Her candid and immediate reactions form a one-of-a-kind cinematic testimony to the psychology of the viewer in the digital era.
Watch the trailer for The Viewing Booth.
Ra’anan Alexandrowicz is best known for the documentary The Law in These Parts (2011), which received the Grand Jury Award at the Sundance Film Festival, a Peabody award, and numerous other prizes. His earlier documentaries, The Inner Tour (2001) and Martin (1999), were shown in the Berlin Int’l Film Festival and MoMA’s New Directors/New Films. Alexandrowicz’s single fiction feature, James’ Journey to Jerusalem (2003), screened in Cannes Directors’ Fortnight and at the Toronto Int’l Film Festival and received several major awards. His films have been released theatrically in the U.S. and Europe, and broadcast by PBS, BBC and ARTE, as well as other television channels.