A portrait of northern Israel’s ancient walled coastal town of Akka, It’s Better to Jump offers a one-sided lament over the “slow death” and “extermination” suffered by Palestinians due to Israelis’ “capitalist invasion” of their lands.
Directed by Gina M. Angelone, Mouna B. Stewart, and Patrick A. Stewart, the documentary is primarily a showcase for a host of talking heads — led by Brown University professor of Middle Eastern studies Beshara Doumani, as well as numerous locals — to mourn the changing face of their city, whose distinctive culture is threatened by wealthy Israeli investors and tourists who want to turn it into a ritzy European-style enclave.
As the interviews confirm, however, their real grief stems from the creation of Israel and the ensuing “occupation” of their homeland, in which they now say they feel like intruders.
Without comments from Akka’s Jewish residents or any conflicting voices, the film plays like a propagandistic attempt to reshape historical and contemporary narratives. Worse still, that modus operandi is carried out via incessant repetition (even at 72 minutes, the material proves monotonous) and with only a passing interest in depicting its central image — Akka kids jumping off a giant wall into the sea — as one with any coherent allegorical significance.