Filmmaker Adam Hootnick’s job experience at MTV informs his cinema-verite
documentary dealing with the experiences of several young people during the
2005 withdrawal of Israel from the Gaza Strip. Although “Unsettled,” from
Resonance Pictures, is far from a comprehensive analysis of the complex
situation — nor does it pretend to be — it does offer an evocative and
moving portrait of the emotional turmoil engendered.
The film’s subjects are all in their early to mid-20s, with their good looks
making them more than suitable for the sort of reality programs dotting the
MTV schedule. They include happy-go-lucky lifeguards Lior and Meir, facing
the loss of their dream job; Neta, a religious-minded filmmaker who strongly
believes in the divine right of the Jews to reside in Gaza; Ye’ela, an
activist who supports the withdrawal even though her sister was killed in a
terrorist bombing by Palestinians; and soldiers Yuval and Tamar, who must be
trained to perform their dangerous task with the proper sensitivity toward
their fellow citizens.
Considering that the subject has been covered before in numerous nonfiction
films, the director’s more personal approach adds an evocative emotional
element that gives the proceedings no small degree of poignancy.
Although there are times when one feels that not everyone onscreen deserves
quite the same degree of attention — the hunky lifeguards aren’t exactly
eloquent in their accounts — “Unsettled” could well appeal to younger
viewers who might have been less interested in a drier approach to the
topic. The reggae-infused music by Hasidic rapper Matisyahu should appeal to
this demographic as well.