Editor’s Note: On Saturday, I attended a screening of the documentary Dancing in Jaffa at the Tribeca Film Festival. This will be a shorter review than usual, mostly because I want to talk about some of the things I saw at the festival.
Dancing in Jaffa is a funny and touching documentary, but isn’t very deep. That’s not to say it’s a bad movie, as it’s well made and enjoyable, but flawed by not exploring its subject enough.
Dancing in Jaffa is about Pierre Dulaine, a famed ballroom dancer, who returns to his hometown of Jaffa in Israel. Jaffa is very unique, as when it became part of Israel the Palestinians living there became citizens of the nation, creating much animosity between the Jewish-Israelites and Palestinian-Israelites. While Pierre was born there, he left at the age of four and returns in an attempt to teach both Jewish and Palestinian children about ballroom dancing.
Director Hilla Medalia adds humor in the documentary, which relies on Pierre talking with the children. Dancing in Jaffa is a crowd-pleaser and the audience really enjoyed the picture.
However, my problem with the documentary was that it didn’t explore the tension between the Jews and Palestinians far enough. Medalia has a few interviews with children, but I would have liked to see her talk to the parents about racial tensions in Jaffa.
Despite its flaws, Dancing in Jaffa is a likeable documentary. It’s nothing extraordinary, but recommendable.
After the movie ended, both Pierre and Medalia answered questions and producer Morgan Spurlock also made an appearance. I gave the movie a 4.5 out of 5 originally for an audience poll but after reconsidering should have given it a 3.5 instead. Next week I’ll be seeing The King of Comedy.