Dancing in Jaffa (NR)
Documentary 100 April 11, 2014
The story, like so many in the Middle East, is pocked with complexities. Dulaine is a Palestinian (his mother was Palestinian and French, his father an Irish soldier) whose family lost their home after the 1948 war. Medalia, as an Israeli, knows this bumpy territory well and serves up her story sensitively, but with its difficulties unvarnished and unsolved. She focuses on a few children whom we get to know well enough to care very much about their progress. Dulaine himself is one of those beautifully arrogant masters of his craft, which enables him to overpower all kinds of resistance from his 11-year-old pupils — their awkward bodies, their awkward emotions, their politics, their religions, their fears -- and confront his own intense brew of mixed emotions. "In ballroom dancing, there has to be certain amount of trust," Dulaine says, and that, plus the rhumba, the tango, and the merengue, are his gifts to the children of Jaffa.