Sheffield Doc/Fest Review: The Viewing Booth

Now, more than any other time in human history, we’re beginning to take a long hard look in the mirror and question our core beliefs. A wave of political populism has polarised societies like never before. Everything has to be black and white. There is no room for ambiguity. Every human has prejudices. It’s natural. We are animals, after all. It’s what you do with those feelings that defines you. Knowing your biases and working against them.

The Viewing Booth is a simple concept. Director Ra’anan Alexandrowicz established a controlled space within a university and invites a number of students to come and watch several short videos. Half of which were released by a pro-Israeli Defence Force organisation, half by a human right’s group, B’Tselem. They are asked to speak their thoughts aloud in real time.  The film focuses on the conversations between Alexandrowicz and a young American student, Maia Levy.

Whilst, on the face of it, The Viewing Booth might seem like a hard sell, the concept of experimentation, explanation and academia places the Arab-Israeli conflict into a different light. As Maia seemingly falls into personal biases, it opens up a dialogue where both must examine their own prejudices. By approaching the issue from a fresh angle, The Viewing Booth is a remarkable documentary which opens up a whole new dialogue.

The Viewing Booth is streaming as part of Sheffield Doc/Fest.

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