Promises presents a powerful portrait of seven Palestinian and Israeli children who live in and around Jerusalem. As filmmaker B.Z. Goldberg, who was raised in Israel, notes, “They live no more than 20 minutes from each other, but they are each growing up in very separate worlds.” The children include Mahmoud, Shlomo, Sanabel, Faraj, Moishe, and twins Yarko and Daniel. With the exception of the latter, all are religious (the twins are the grandchildren of a Holocaust survivor). Most have strong political beliefs and have seen their share of tragedy–Faraj’s friend was killed in front of him–but as the film makes clear, they’re also kids. They like to watch TV, hold burping contests, and compete in sports (Faraj is a runner, Yarko and Daniel play volleyball). Promises doesn’t attempt to explain them, but lets the kids speak for themselves. The results are funny, sad, and ultimately quite profound.
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