Friday, September 14, 2007

Protocols of Zion

Protocols of Zion (Marc Levin, 2005) [6]

Levin has made here a earnest, inquisitive documentary that has real interesting moments but ultimately trips on itself trying to do too many things at once. It was a little different than I expected; the Netflix review specifically mentions how supposedly all Jews were told to stay home from the World Trade Center on September 11th, which is what I was expecting this to mainly be about. Instead, Levin uses that as a jumping-off point to examine anti-semitism in general, especially focusing on a book called The Protocols of the Elders of Zion supposedly telling how the Jews were to go about ruling the world. The book is a proven forgery from Czarist Russia but Levin wants to find out why it is still popular in so many circles. Besides Muslim fundamentalists, Levin also interviews white supremacists, born-again Christians, and other assorted nutjobs to find a root cause for anti-semitism. What Levin finds out is not any hatred towards particular Jews; "the Jews" act more as a figurehead for disgruntled people to place their blame. That's how Levin gets such statements out of people that Rupert Murdoch must be Jewish because he's a media mogul and Rudolph "Jew"-liani isn't what he appears to be. What's fascinating about all this is how blind the delusion of these people are, how anti-semitism has become so ingrained in certain cultures that it trumps all sort of rational thought. There are moments and comments that border on comedy they're so ludicrous. The film brings out the realization that anti-semitism is still something that is large and so deep in certain elements of society that it may never be eradicated. What the film really lacks are suggestions on how to do that. Levin presents the wide array of material but never really gives any answers. He still seems as confused as when he started his project. That the film goes in so many directions really makes it lose a central focus which Levin could have addressed. He just puts too much in and the whole Passion of the Christ subplot didn't feel necessary. Still, Levin gets credit for going out there and somehow, staying calm and rational when confronting so many lunatics.

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