Release Date: October 24, 2007
Genre: Historical Drama/War Drama
Audience: Teenagers and adults
Runtime: 100 minutes
Distributor: Samuel Goldwyn Films
Director: Elie Chouraqui
Executive Producer: David Korda
Address Comments To:Samuel Goldwyn, Jr., Chairman/CEO
Meyer Gottlieb, President
Samuel Goldwyn Films
9570 West Pico Blvd., 4th Floor
Los Angeles, CA 90035
Phone: (310) 860-3100
Fax: (310) 860-3195
The movie opens in New York City at the end of World War II, where Bobby, a Jewish soldier fresh from the European war zone, literally runs into Said, an Arab whose family comes from Palestine. They become friends, despite their political differences. A year later, when their mutual friend, Jacob, moves to Jerusalem, Bobby and Said follow.
In Israel, the three men watch the news as the United Nations debates the partition of Palestine into separate homelands for both the Jews and the Arabs living there. Tension grows between the three friends, and between the Jews and Arabs in Jerusalem. The three men are swept up into the events. Jacob is shot dead early on by a British soldier during an Arab pogrom against the Jews in Jerusalem. Then, Said begins fighting for the Arab Muslims and Bobby begins fighting for the Jewish forces led by David Ben-Gurion and Golda Meir, the two future leaders of the new country Israel.
Though there are a couple scenes with rabbis and Bible references on the part of the Jewish forces in this movie, most of the references to God or religion are made by Said and the Muslim characters. At one point, Said even acknowledges the place where Jesus Christ was supposedly crucified, even though Muslims reject the historical fact that Jesus was crucified. This portrayal seems to reflect the fact that much of modern Israel was built on socialism and secular humanism, whereas the Muslims and Christian Arabs who were the majority of the inhabitants of Israel at the time were opposed to Israel for religious reasons. Even so, it is doubtful that there were so few religious ideals and references to God among the Jews of Israel back then as this movie makes out. Also, the religious ideals of Arab Muslims are often not so peaceful and cosmopolitan as the filmmakers portray here, although the Christian Arabs who constituted the majority were.
In the end, the movie argues for peaceful co-existence after the battle for Jerusalem ends with a divided city, where Israel and the Jews control one part of the city while the Arabs and Jordan control the other part. This situation changed in 1967 when Israel, surrounded by hostile armies preparing another attack, fought back and regained some of Ancient Israel’s old territory.
In addition to making some of the Christian Arabs and Muslims appear more chivalrous than they really were at the time, the movie revises history to support an incongruous, anachronistic multicultural agenda that ignores the real cultural, political and theological differences among Jews, Arabs and Christians. The movie also falsely depicts the Jewish extremist group, the Irgun’s, attack on the Arab village of Deir Yassin as an all-out massacre of peaceful Arabs, including women and children, when the historical facts are quite different.
Thus, although the movie supports the creation of the Jewish state in the Middle East, it revises history significantly enough to make the movie’s historical, political, moral, and religious content somewhat suspect and, ultimately, unacceptable, though perhaps not completely abhorrent. MOVIEGUIDE® cannot, therefore, fully endorse the movie’s representation of the social, political, religious, and moral history of the period in question. Jerusalem, of course, ultimately belongs to Jesus Christ, the Word made flesh, who is the true heir to King David, the man who actually founded the city. All people – Jew and Gentile – should recognize that truth above all when it comes to Jerusalem. The true peace of Jerusalem – and Israel – will come only when Jesus Christ returns to separate the sheep from the goats, the righteous from the wicked.
O JERUSALEM gives a modern multicultural spin that asks people to follow Psalm 122:6 and “pray for the peace of Jerusalem.” Though it recognizes Israel’s right to exist, the movie also adopts some of the false revisions to the period’s political, religious and moral history. Also, only the Muslims in the story seem to make any positive references to God or religion. These anachronistic distortions are unacceptable, though not completely abhorrent. Therefore, MOVIEGUIDE® cannot endorse the movie’s representation of history.