Sunday, November 13, 2016
FOREVER PURE (2016) DOC NYC
Troubling story of the Beitar Jerusalem Football Club who proudly favored local soccer players to those outside of Israel. While they had signed Christian players they had never signed an Arab player, which as a point of pride. When the owner broke with that unwritten rule and signed some Muslim players from Chechnya a war broke out between the team and their supporters.
Dark sports story highlights not just a divide in sports but a divide in Israel as the internal hatreds to keep the team (society) pure exploded to the surface and all over the news. What is troubling is that the hatred and racism is openly expressed and held out to be a badge of honor. That people would feel hatred for another group is not surprising, the feelings are everywhere and in everyone for better or worse, one need only look at here in the US where political candidates whip up hatred of the outsider for personal gain. What is troubling is that it is in Israel, a country which was founded as safe place for Jewish people who were being subjected to that exact sort of abuse in Europe and elsewhere.
I liked this film a great deal. I liked that the film takes an in no way happy tale and refuses to sugar coat it. Here is a story full of unlikable people, from the owner who only wanted the team as a political tool (Beitar's supporters are a political force he wanted to control) all the way down to the hateful fans, who are no better than the soccer hooligans that prowl the European soccer stadiums. I did liked so many people I didn't want to watch the film.
Of course there are some rays of light, the players from Chechnya seem like nice guys who are in way over their heads. Also the few team players who try to calm the waters come off as decent human beings, but they are the exception.
A stunning punch in the face reminder that hatred is everywhere.
FOREVER PURE plays Mondy November 14 at DOC NYC. For tickets and more information go here,