So what would you think a group of teenagers from the Galilee would talk about when they get in front of a camcorder?
Surprise! It’s not the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. It’s not even Iran.
They’re talking about deeply personal issues, like the teenage Russian Jewish girl who left her abusive father in Russia and wants to change her name; twin sisters from Lebanon who fled to Israel with the South Lebanese Army in 2000, have never seen their home and are trying to decide their identity; the Arab-Israeli boy who likes to party with his friends even though his parents disapprove; and the Caucasian Jewish girl who frets about her weight and wonders why her mother committed suicide.
Politics can wait.
These are the very personal stories a group of Galilee teenagers taped themselves for a film titled “Through My Eyes: Stories by Galilee Youth,” which is having its world premiere Sunday, March 21, at SouthSide Works Cinema.
It’s one of the last offerings of this year’s Pittsburgh Jewish Israeli Film Festival.
In “Through My Eyes,” the teenagers, their friends and family are the stars. Moms and dads aren’t always happy about having private frank conversations taped for posterity. Sometimes we hear them tell their kids to turn the cameras off.
But before they do — if they do — we are treated to a slice of Israeli realty we don’t normally get stateside. Life is hard and complex in the Jewish state — for Jew and non-Jew alike. And the political situation isn’t always the all-consuming issue on their minds.
Appropriately, the Film Festival is using Sunday’s premiere to kick off its new student film competition. A meeting will precede the screening at noon.
“Through My Eyes” is definitely a teen film, precisely because it’s teenagers talking honestly about teen issues. But parents should see it too; the revelations are sometimes eye openers.
(Lee Chottiner can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.)