West Bank Story is short film with a big message. Leveraging on his ability to make an audience laugh, director Ari Sandel makes reference to the cultural and political differences between Israelis and Palestinians in a comedic and entirely “Hollywood” way.
This Oscar-winning short has all the elements of a great Hollywood film: rivalry, spectacle and of course, a love story. The hilarity of the tale stems from the adversary between two restaurants, the Hummus Hut and the Kosher King. The overarching theme of tension and dispute makes way for a very Romeo & Juliet style love story between Fatima, a Palestinian Hummus Hut worker and David, an Israeli soldier. They are culturally destined to be apart but that won’t stop their love affair!
Sandel’s method of using over the top stereotypes to get a political message across while still making an audience laugh is one to be sought after. I can’t recall another film or story that has entertained me on such a humourous level while calling out Westerners on the corrupt outlook we have on cultures different than our own. It takes a brave person to poke fun at cultural stereotypes – something that is often a touchy subject for those that are the focus.
Using food as the foundation of the plot is a genius move on Sandel’s part. If there is one thing people around the world share, it is often a knowledge and appreciation of different types of food. Audiences can grab on to the idea of the Hummus Hut and the Kosher King in order to understand the film’s larger, political message. They make this story easier to digest and give audiences a base to spread the political innuendo on top of.
If you like to be entertained, you should watch this film. If you like to laugh (at yourself), then again, you should watch this film. The mash-up of politics, love and food make for one appetizing treat.
Watch the full short film here: