I just watched a wonderful movie with some friends. The Holy Land
was the very well written and terribly emotionally evocative tale of an odd collection of outcasts who all end up congregating at a bar in Jerusalem. Each character is outcast from a different culture for a different reason, but they all share in common the search for identity and the struggle to stay alive in a hostile world. It's a love story, a story of conflict, a story of conflicted emotions, and a story of denial. Mendy, a young, Orthodox Jewish boy is sent to Tel Aviv to sow his oats so that he can better concentrate on his Torah studies, but the plan backfires (surprise!) when he meets and unexpectedly falls in love with a Ukranian prostitute named Sasha. He gets mixed up with a guy named Mike, an ex-patriated Canadian war photographer who runs a bar and frequents the brothel where Mendy met Sasha. Together they all get mixed up in things well beyond their control and the scope of their emotions. The bar is a meeting place for Jews, Arabs, Americans, and all manner of social outcasts, but it is also a breeding ground for lies, most prominently lies you tell yourself. I really recommend this movie to anyone interested in Jewish/Arab cultures and their interactions in the Holy Land, or anyone interested in a story of forbidden love, forbidden by others and forbidden by yourself.