He asks the students what kind of classroom it is, and when they respond by correcting and informing him that it's a bomb shelter, he smiles and nods. "Perfect," he yells enthusiastically. It's a sublime metaphor for the small bubble Dulaine was trying to construct for them. By removing these children, so confused by the subjective and personal biased teachings their parents relay to them each night and letting them focus on the beauty of humanity found within a dance partner they must come to inherently trust, Dulaine strips them of the atavistic war that dominates their daily lives and brings a carefree light into their world. Medalia's decision to focus on a dance teacher isn't accidental and it speaks volumes that her subject, who sweeps in and out in ten weeks, represents a fantastical world of merriment, cultivated by a love for art and creation against a backdrop so overcome with destruction and devastation.
It's also difficult to not become immediately enamored with the children, who go from being typical kids and not wanting to dance with a girl or a boy to enthusiastic students, dedicating their time to perfecting their newfound hobby with each other. One of the best moments in the film arrives when a Jewish girl and an Arabic boy decide to practice outside of school, and end up on a mini-date on his father's boat. Dulaine's goal, to instill an idea of love for humanity that transcends race or colour, is heart-warmingly demonstrated by these two progenies. Dancing in Jaffa is a wonderfully insightful documentary that explores a side of geopolitical tensions in a completely new light. Like Dulaine's teachings, the feeling of hope, the promise of light at the end of the tunnel, never diminishes.
Julia Alexander | @loudmouthjulia