With a scrupulously even hand, “Blood and Tears” distills 60 years of Israeli-Palestinian hostility into a slim but authoritative 73-minute package. Absent the deeper analysis and filmmaking chops that might have raised it above the level of a competently executed TV special, Isidore Rosmarin’s docu is most impressive for its wide range of voices — leaders and commentators, moderates and extremists on both sides, plus several former Israeli prime ministers. Film is receiving scattered theatrical exposure Stateside, but its conventional talking-heads format and sleek runtime make it ideal tube fodder.
Docu traces the bloody turf war from the rise of Zionism in 1948, to the Six-Day War of 1967 that left Israel in control of coveted regions including the Golan Heights, West Bank and Gaza Strip, and continues through decades of failed negotiations, escalating violence and the rise of terrorist groups like Hamas. Pic paints a nuanced, unfailingly balanced and quietly despairing portrait of both parties as mutually (if not identically) stubborn, prone to self-pity and ripped apart by extremist factions. Plentiful onscreen narration and handy definitions of tricky terms like “fatah” and “Intifada” make pic a useful educational tool.