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It doesn’t take long for the pair of Israeli brothers in Hula and Natan to telegraph “crazy”: Just look at how many cats they feed each day at their auto-repair yard in Sderot, Israel. Their manias run much deeper than that, though: Hula and Natan berate each other, their customers, and the on-air television reporters who frequent this city in the western Negev desert because of its close proximity to Gaza. Qassam rockets, fired from Gaza, occasionally drop within earshot during this tragicomic hour-long documentary shot in 2008 and 2009, and so it’s easy to imagine the brothers’ shared insanity as a symptom of living life under siege. That’s probably not the case—they’re nuts on their own terms—but their face-offs with the local land authorities who want to evict them give the pair a unique view of the Israeli state: Hula sees their junkyard, originally purchased by their father, as a metaphor for the Palestinian condition. Late in the film, Hula and Natan watch from a hillside as Israeli Defense Forces jets bomb Gaza City while teens from Sderot cheer. Hula, crazy-eyed and crazy-thin, walks to the camera, turns toward the teens, and spits one word that isn’t crazy at all: “Disgusting.”
Tuesday, June 21 at 4:45 p.m. at AFI Silver 3; also on Friday, June 24 at 11:15 a.m. at Discovery HD Theater.