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Wednesday, June 26, 2013 

Brad Pitt's new movie sounds grade-Z ludicrous

Pitt's made a new movie about zombies called World War Z, which contains bizarre political propaganda:
Brad Pitt's "World War Z" imagines a world overrun by a zombie pandemic, leading to an unlikely new global power structure. Two of the few countries that have kept the zombies at bay are Israel, which shelters Israelis and Palestinians behind a wall, and North Korea, which has removed the teeth of its citizens to prevent zombie biting.

It's a curious portrait of geopolitics that's left some moviegoers scratching their heads. Is a wall of unity for both Jews and Muslims in Jerusalem an ironic commentary on the West Bank barrier being constructed by Israel alongside Palestine? Or a suggestion that a wall - which resembles the Western Wall - can be a positive force in the Middle East?

There's little time for rumination on such questions in "World War Z" before the next swarm of zombies attacks. Any whiff of foreign policy contemplation is snuffed out by the stampeding undead, who seem about as interested in politics as the average summer moviegoer.

But in their wake, some have questioned just what, exactly, "World War Z," is saying about Israel.

"Will (foreign moviegoers) conclude that the filmmakers (are) saying that Kim Jong-un and Benjamin Netanyahu are the wisest leaders in the world, except that Kim is a little bit wiser, because he's uncontaminated by humanitarian sentiments?" wrote Hendrik Hertzberg for The New Yorker. "North Koreans still have a few teeth in their heads, but Israel has already built a wall. Will foreign audiences, or potential audiences, interpret the film's message to be that the only thing wrong with the existing wall is that it's not sealed tight enough?"

The Los Angeles Times' Steven Zeitchik wrote: "In the context of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, a wall is a heavily fraught symbol. But here it turns into an instrument of peace?" [...]

In the book, uninfected Jews and Palestinians are quarantined behind a huge wall in Jerusalem. The haven is spoiled not by zombies, but by civil war, which breaks out when Israel's ultra-orthodox rebel. In the film, the Jerusalem scene (shot in Malta) is the film's grandest set piece (seen widely in TV ads) where zombies mount the wall like ants.
I find this stupefying for plenty of reasons, the biggest one being the potential moral equivalence involving Israel and Jews/Muslims or Israelis/palestinians. And even the book's depiction of Haredis as troublemakers may fall flat if it only paints them all with the same brush, and trivializes any and all wrongdoing by the Muslims. I don't have a very high opinion of Pitt, and his new movie based on such a tasteless sounding book sounds faithful enough to the source material, even if it leaves out the ultra-orthodox part. Just more propaganda to push the false narrative of "palestinians" while not offering an ounce of criticism for anything they do.

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  • I'm Avi Green
  • From Jerusalem, Israel
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