Susan Sontag’s PROMISED LANDS now playing in NYC

The Film Desk Pills is pleased to present the theatrical re-release of Susan Sontag’s PROMISED LANDS, long unseen and out of circulation, in a new digital copy.

Opening this Thursday, February 4th, for one-week only at Purchase Purchase Anthology Film Archives (corner of 2nd Avenue & 2nd Steet).

With selected screenings introduced by special guests, including critics Melissa Anderson and Ed Halter, and artist Paul Chan. (showtimes at bottom of page)

Susan Sontag’s third directorial effort and her only documentary, Promised Lands (1974) which scrutinizes the ongoing Arab-Israeli conflict and the growing divisions within Jewish thought over the question of Palestinian sovereignty, shot in Israel during the final days and immediate aftermath of the 1973 Yom Kippur War.

Sontag structures the film as an antiphony between two sets of images. The first consists of observational sequences detailing moments from modern Israel : desert landscapes, patrols of roadside soldiers, old men and women at the Wailing Wall, Israeli grocery stores and movie theaters, the Jerusalem War Cemetery , a military psychiatric ward, and a wax museum depicting the official history of the state. Intercut throughout are conversations with two intellectuals: writer Yoram Kaniuk, a supporter of Palestinian rights who sees Israel shifting from its socialist roots to an American-style commercial culture, and physicist Yuval Ne’eman, who argues for the endemic nature of Arab anti-Semitism.

Though the film grants no direct access to Arab or Palestinian voices, its clear elaboration of the d eb ate prompted Israeli censors to ban its initial release, claiming it would be ‘damaging to the country’s morale.’ Stateside, Stanley Kauffmann praised the film’s Hegelian quality, writing that it presents ‘not a struggle between truth and falsehood but between two opposing, partial truths.”
– Ed Halter, Light Industry

Thursday F eb 4 – 7:00 & 9:00 PM
Friday F eb 5 – 7:00 ( w/ intro by critic Melissa Anderson) & 9:00 PM
Saturday F eb 6 – 5:00 & 7:00 (w/ intro by critic Ed Halter) & 9:00 PM
Sunday F eb 7 – 5:00 & 7:00 & 9:00 PM
Monday F eb 8 – 7:00 (w/intro by artist Paul Chan) & 9:00 PM
Tuesday F eb 9 – 7:00 & 9:00 PM
Wednesday F eb 10 – 7:00 & 9:00 PM Order online