As many of you know, I speak French and am learning Arabic and Hebrew. So, when I found A Bottle in the Gaza Sea on Netflix, a movie that combines all of those languages, I was excited about seeing it.
I just finished watching it, and I'm speechless.
Based on the book by Valérie Zenatti, a French-Israeli author, A Bottle in the Gaza Sea chronicles a French teenage girl named Tal and a young Palestinian man named Naim. Tal grew up in France and moved to Israel with her family, where she is exposed to war and conflict. Confused, she writes a message in a bottle that her brother, an IDF soldier, throws into the Mediterranean Sea in Gaza, as she wants to make a connection with a Palestinian. The bottle reaches Naim and his friends, and what ensues is a beautiful exchange of emails, conflict understanding, and friendship.
In my mind, the movie's greatest achievement is how it presented both sides of the conflict. It exposes each side's motives for war and how it has affected civilians, and it explores the issue of human rights. What makes this film so wonderful is how much Tal and Naim learn from each other and help each other grow, and they both come to realize how each side plays a role in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Most importantly, they learn that the best way to foster peaceful relations is to connect with those on the "other side."
Whether you're pro-Israel, pro-Palestinian, or don't have an opinion on the issue, I strongly encourage you to watch this movie (or, better yet, read the book). It puts everything I wrote about in this post into perspective.
While the languages spoken in the film are French, Hebrew, and Arabic, there are English subtitles. Because it combines all of the languages that I'm learning with an issue so dear to me, this film has earned a special place in my heart. Now, I can't wait to read the book.
So no matter where you are in the world, or what your beliefs are, let's be friends. Tell me about yourself. Let's connect.
And if there's just one thing that you take away from this post, let it be that love and friendship will always be more powerful than war and ideological differences.