Promised Lands, Susan Sontag’s 1974 look at the Israeli-Palestinian conflict just after the Yom Kippur War of 1973, is playing at Anthology until the 10th. In anticipation, both L Magazine and The Village Voice have dedicated some space in their publications (or at the very least, their websites) to looking at the film.
One thing that Voice writer Michael Atkinson said in particular sticks out to me:
“today, the movie seems more remarkable as a Sontag artifact than as political filmmaking”
I found that particularly interesting, especially due to the real lack of positive change in the Middle East since the film came out. At the very least, I was hoping either of the reviewers could have drawn some parallels to the current conflict in relation to when Promised Lands debuted.
But, then again, the Voice and L Magazine writers aren’t here discussing politics; they are here reviewing a film that upon release, the New York Times called “dull and badly organized”, and regarded the the footage used as “haphazard”.
Whatever the case, the film is playing for another five days in New York, giving you your own opportunity to decide if it’s a relevant piece of political filmmaking, an “artifact” from one of the 20th centuries most well-known intellectuals, or a waste of time.