The Wanted 18

In 1988, in a Palestinian town near Bethlehem, 18 dairy cows were purchased by the people of Beit Sahour from an Israeli kibbutz. This well-crafted, creative documentary explores the strange mixture of political complexities and bovine hijinks that were manifested by the town’s efforts to take dairy production—and fiscal resistance—into their own hands. The film uses stop motion animation and interviews to recreate an astonishing true story: the Israeli army’s pursuit of the 18 cows, whose independent milk production on a Palestinian collective farm was declared “a threat to the national security of the state of Israel.” The military forces attempt to confiscate the cows, but the townspeople of Beit Sahour hide their prized milk makers. The film interviews the citizens of Beit Sahour and Israeli military officials almost 20 years after the cow confrontation about their experience of the Intifada and what happened to the cows. What makes this almost fable-like story of a serious subject so unique is that—in addition to director Amer Shomali, who is from the town of Beit Sahour—the main narrators of the film are four playfully animated cows who journey from Kibbutz Hillel to Beit Sahour. We see the Intifada and the power of grassroots activism through their big bovine eyes.
w/English Subtitle
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