"The Viewing Booth" (Ra'anan Alexandrowicz, 2019, 71 min, USA, in English, Hebrew, and Arabic with English subtitles, Color, DCP)
"I'm looking for something to support what I think." So declares Maia, the subject of Ra'anan Alexandrowicz's astonishing documentary exploring the limits of filmic empathy and its capacity for political change. Alexandrowicz constructs a science lab-like space in which Maia Levy - a young American college student and committed supporter of Israel - watches YouTube videos portraying life in the occupied West Bank city of Hebron. She verbalizes her thoughts and feelings in real time and with unusual candor, ricocheting between curiosity and anger, empathy and embarrassment, rationalization and disbelief. The filmmaker, communicating occasionally from another room, eventually reveals his unsettled line of inquiry: Can documentary images change viewers' minds? Not as easily, it seems, as viewers' minds can change those documentary images.