Invisible Lands


Jaffa: The Orange’s Clockwork

(Eyal Sivan, 2009, pictured at top)

The real sometimes lies not in what is seen but in what is not seen. Jaffa: The Orange’s Clockwork is a documentary, no doubt. But it is a documentary that depicts the construction of a fictional narrative: the myth of “a land without people for a people without a land”, as manifest in the Jaffa Oranges brand. Although the first half of the film lingers for too long on this myth and its construction, its second half manages to reveal the hidden tragedy and cruelty to which the inhabitants of Yafa (or Jaffa) have been subject since 1948.

The film expounds how art, and film in particular, has assisted that denial of the existence of Palestinians in Palestine, and of the possibility of a state for all its inhabitants. One eventually comes to question the role of images and film in the Palestinian tragedy (and probably that of Israelis who were prevented from living outside the notion of a Jewish society in Palestine).