A Slim Peace

Novice helmer Yael Luttwak uses the universal desire for weight-loss as the perfect excuse to bring Arab and Israeli women together in "A Slim Peace." Clever premise flies, thanks to strong personalities overcoming budgetary limitations and a certain lack of structure, with real progress made until the daily realities of a divided Israel overwhelm the giant steps forward made by women trained to fear the other side. Docu's novelty should earn it a popular place in Jewish fests as well as small-screen broadcast.

Novice helmer Yael Luttwak uses the universal desire for weight-loss as the perfect excuse to bring Arab and Israeli women together in “A Slim Peace.” Clever premise flies, thanks to strong personalities overcoming budgetary limitations and a certain lack of structure, with real progress made until the daily realities of a divided Israel overwhelm the giant steps forward made by women trained to fear the other side. Docu’s novelty should earn it a popular place in Jewish fests as well as small-screen broadcast.

Body language says it all at the first meeting of a diet support group composed of highly educated Palestinians, secular and religious Jews, and Bedouins: the discomfort is tangible as women who would never even look at each other are forced to confront their fears of the other. Getting settlers to sit down with Ramallah residents was Luttwak’s biggest challenge, but over the course of six sessions, the women not only lose weight but bridge their ingrained mistrust, highlighting just how geopolitics artificially narrows perspectives and sows seeds of hatred. Though the outcome one year later is less than hoped for, the applications are huge.

A Slim Peace

U.K.

Production: A Discodog Prods. production. (International sales: Film Sales Corp., New York.) Produced by Charles Lambert. Executive producers, Ben Funnell, Andrew Herwitz, Davide Romieri. Co-producer, Yael Luttwak. Directed by Yael Luttwak.

Crew: Camera (color, HD), Yvonne Miklosh; editors, John Mister, Carol Salter; music, Avshalom Caspi; sound, Tomer Blayer; sound design, Peter Hodges. Reviewed at Tribeca Film Festival (World Documentary Competition competing), May 4, 2007. English, Hebrew, Arabic dialogue. Running time: 60 MIN.

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