There are repeated messages throughout the film about Israeli oppression of Palestinians and discrimination against “Palestinian Israelis.” Throughout the film, Arabs who live in Jaffa are referred to as Palestinian-Israeli, not as Israeli Arabs. The filmmaker, who was born in Jaffa and regards himself as a Palestinian, gives a distorted view of Jaffa as being a place filled with tension, caused primarily by right wing Israelis who threaten them. Someone with little or no knowledge of Israel who views this film would gain sympathy for the Palestinian cause and disdain for Israel.
The film should have been about a wonderful program that brought together Arab and Jewish children for ballroom dance, but it isn’t. Besides the Palestinian nationalist slant, it is also largely a vehicle for satisfying the huge ego of the filmmaker, who was once a world champion ballroom dancer.
By Prof. Michael Leitner, California State University, Chico