“Don’t touch it. This isn’t for kids,” says Sanfur, the 17-year-old protagonist of Yuval Adler’s spy drama Bethlehem, pulling an AK-47 out of the hands of a younger boy. The irony is that Sanfur is just a kid himself: a moody, conflicted teenager, caught between his opposing loyalties to Ibrahim, his Palestinian-militant older brother, and Razi, the Israeli secret service agent who recruited Sanfur two years ago. Bethlehem was co-written by Adler, who is Jewish and served in Israeli army intelligence, and Ali Waked, a Muslim journalist and activist. Their film deals in nuance, avoiding easy didacticism and reaching instead for something more difficult: empathy for everyone touched by the wrenching effects of the conflict.
BETHLEHEM OPENS NEXT FRIDAY, MARCH 7, AT THE ANGELIKA IN NEW YORK.