Image copyright © by Marcus Trahan

James’ Journey to Jerusalem

(Massa'ot James Be'eretz Hakodesh, Israel, 2003)

I enjoyed this film, which is presented as a modern-day fable concerning a young African on a pilgrimage to the Holy Land, but I have to say I don’t know what the moral was unless it is Never Trust a Jew. Since this was made by an Israeli, that’s probably not it. But everyone James meets in Israel, without exception, is a thief and a cheat, interested only in shafting everybody in sight. He makes it only to Tel Aviv, where he is put into what is basically slavery. He must work for the man who has his passport, or be deported. It’s quite a racket, and not a picture of Israel that I’ve seen before. He begins as an innocent, learns the ropes, finds that the only God worshipped in the Holy Land is the Holy Shekel.