Docu helmer Robert Krieg, together with Monika Nolte, revisits Bethlehem to examine the differences between the First and Second Intifadas in their absorbing but pessimistic “Children of the Stones — Children of the Wall.” Following up Krieg’s 1989 docu, “On the Way to Palestine,” the co-helmers contact the surviving members of a group of friends, photographed as kids by Ralf Emmerich, to look at how life in Palestine has changed in the past 20 years. Though it can feel stretched, the pic successfully uses a personal approach to encompass a larger issue, making it ideal fest and satcaster fare.
“Victory signs are a thing of the past,” says one of the men, brought together with his former buddies to talk about the camaraderie of the earlier days, when throwing stones at Israeli soldiers was their sole form of resistance. Now Bethlehem is surrounded by settlements and the Wall, hemming in the city’s residents and limiting their ability to make a living. Hope feels like a quaint emotion from the past, while the conflict between Fatah and Hamas, briefly touched upon, fragments past solidarity. Visuals and sound are flawless.