Spanning seven years, the award-winning "My So-Called Enemy" follows six Palestinian and Israeli teenage girls who participated in a cross-cultural leadership program. The film documents how the transformative experience of knowing their "enemies" as human beings meets with the realities of their lives back home in the Middle East. Through their coming-of-age narratives, audiences see how creating relationships across emotional, ideological, religious and physical borders are first steps towards resolving conflict.
This film offered our campus a complex and compelling look at the real lives of young women in Israel and Palestine, sparking deep conversations about nationhood, identity, forgiveness and relationships. I don’t believe we’ll find anything better than what "My So-Called Enemy" presented.
In the spirit of Michael Apted's "7 Up" series, the award-winning "My So-Called Enemy" has been praised as "moving, powerful, intelligent and brave‚" (The Nation) and "a mesmerizing, eye-opening film that shows the true power of friendship and empathy to conquer political boundaries." (Teen Voices)
Spanning seven years, "My So-Called Enemy" follows six Palestinian and Israeli teenage girls committed to justice and mutual understanding after participating in a women's leadership program called Building Bridges for Peace. This heart and mind-opening film, from Emmy Award-winning director Lisa Gossels (The Children of Chabannes), documents how the young women's transformative experience of knowing their "enemies" as human beings in the United States meets with the realities of their lives back home in the Middle East. Through the coming-of-age narratives of Adi, Gal, Hanin, Inas, Rawan and Rezan, audiences see how creating relationships across emotional, political, religious and geographic borders are first steps towards resolving conflict. "My So-Called Enemy" presents the complexities of the Israeli/Palestinian conflict through a human lens, and the possibility and hope that come from listening to each others stories.
A film about building bridges of understanding in our own communities, "My So-Called Enemy" offers audiences profound messages about tolerance, inclusion and respect, conflict prevention and resolution, and the vital role of women in peacemaking.
Recommended for courses in:
Cinema/Film Studies, Communications/Media Studies, Diversity. Ethics, Global Studies, Human Rights, Jewish Studies, Journalism, International Relations, Islamic Studies, Law/Mediation, Leadership, Middle East Studies, Peace and Conflict Resolution Studies, Philosophy, Political Science, Psychology, Religious Studies, Social Work, Sociology and Women's and Gender Studies.
"My So-Called Enemy” is so unique and inspirational that it should be mandatory viewing for all students and young people around the world.
Subtle, not pedantic, "My So-Called Enemy" is a balanced and nuanced approach to understanding conflict. An excellent choice for students of diplomacy and world conflict, and a reminder of the power of youthful idealism to make the world a better place. (Red Star review; recommended grades 7+)
While the conflict in the region provides a backdrop for "My So-Called Enemy," its primary focus is the re-humanizing power of compassionate listening... Gossels' film is remarkably non-ideological. It makes no attempt to offer easy solutions to the seemingly intractable difficulties faced by the subjects of the film. I believe it has great pedagogical potential across many disciplines... Whether the issue is immigration, economic class, race, religion, etc., the film speaks to the challenges and conflicts our students likely face (or will face) in their lives, while providing space for important dialogue.
There is no better way for young adults to come to an understanding of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, or any conflict, than to see it through the eyes of someone their own age. Lisa Gossels' film shows students that they can still listen to and understand other perspectives without surrendering their individuality. I think every high school and college student should see this enlightening and thought-provoking documentary.
In "My So-Called Enemy" there are no answers, but by the end, we are far better equipped to ask better questions... This film is a powerful example of the difference between knowing one’s history—which is important to moving forward—and being confined to and beholden to one’s history—which makes moving forward impossible. It is true of mind, true of heart, clear-eyed and optimistic. It’s also great documentary filmmaking.
An insightful, moving, important film… Extraordinary.
The teenage girls who make such compelling protagonists in "My So-Called Enemy"… offer inspiring examples of reconciliation in that embattled region.
Watching this evocative documentary was both a deeply moving, and deeply uncomfortable, experience. I am the same age as the women portrayed in the film… "My So-Called Enemy" forced me, along with these young women, to understand the limits of the narrative I have come of age with, and to honestly confront the face of the other.
In order to reach peace, there must be some opportunity to break down the symbolic walls standing between the Self and the Other. As Gossels and the six appealingly emotional, sensitive, intelligent and independent women she profiled on film well know, peacemaking is not much of a paradox after all.