Minimalist in approach yet far-reaching in its application and consequence, The Viewing Booth forms a one-of-a-kind cinematic testimony to the psychology of the viewer in the digital era.
In a lab-like location, Maia Levy, a young Jewish American woman, watches videos portraying life in the occupied West Bank. Maia is an enthusiastic supporter of Israel, and the images in the videos, depicting Palestinian life under Israeli military rule, contradict some of her deep-seated beliefs. Empathy, anger, embarrassment, innate biases, and healthy curiosity — all play out before our eyes as we watch her watch the images of military occupation. Six months later, Levy returns to watch more footage. This time, Maia views edited footage of herself while she was watching the images of the occupation. What is revealed in the process is multi-layered, puzzling, insightful and extends beyond the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Maia’s candid and reflective analysis of her previous commentary gives the viewer a staggering demonstration of the idea that seeing is not always believing.
Ra’anan Alexandrowicz is a filmmaker, writer, and teacher. His work on Israel and Palestine has challenged political and formal conventions and premiered at venues such as Sundance, Berlin, and Cannes. Alexandrowic’s latest work The Viewing Booth (2019) was screened at the forum section of the 2020 Berlinale, was shortlisted in the 2020 IDA awards competition and received the critics’ award for best film at HSDFF. Alexandrowicz’s film The Law in These Parts (2011), received the Grand Jury Award in the international documentary competition at the Sundance Film Festival, a Peabody award, and numerous other prizes.