States of UnBelonging reviewed in The Jewish Weekly


February 24, 2006

“States of UnBelonging”
at Makor Steinhardt Center of the 92nd St. Y

“Of all the literary formats, the essay, perhaps, seems the least suited to cinematic adaptation; with its intensely personal nature and often rambling paragraphs, it appears to elude the sort of tight structural discipline demanded of a coherent piece of film.  All of which makes Lynne Sachs’ achievement all the more impressive:  Here is a cine-essay, maintaining all the benefits of the original format while adhering to the demands of the visual.  At the heart of the film is Sachs’ two-year exchange of letters and pictures with her Israeli friend Nir Zats, an exchange that begins when Revital Ohayon, an Israeli filmmaker and mother, is killed in a terrorist attack on her kibbutz near the West Bank.  Soon, Sachs herself embarks on a journey to visit Ohayon’s grieving family, and her film becomes a meta-essay of sorts, meditating on fear and filmmaking, tragedy and transformation, violence and the land of Israel.  This elegant and beautiful piece of filmmaking is greatly enriched by its soundtrack, featuring works by some of the Jewish avant-garde scene’s best and brightest, including Jewlia Eisenberg, Raz Mesinai and Basya Schecter.”

George Robinson