At the Plaza Frontenac in St. Louis
Starting today (Friday October 17, 2014)
(11:00) 1:30 4:00 7:10 9:35
Spies like James Bond/007 can appear cool… but what if it were their family, their relatives and their people they were betraying? That type of treason may be nothing to celebrate anymore. One may actually need to hide all of that – and definitely not make a film about it!
That is the challenge that the director, Nadav Schirman, has taken on. His previous two other documentaries were also about individuals living undercover: “In the Dark Room” and “The Champagne Spy.” He was also the producer of the successful 2012 “No Place on Earth.”
In our desire to appear smart and in charge, we make fast assessments, ready to speak up and to react. Here, because repeatedly nothing appears as it what it is, the film will challenge most preconceptions. The moral compass for what constitutes one’s alliances seems to be constantly shifting and one is asked to turn oneself inside out.
Healthy questions emerge: What constitutes intelligence and security? How do we know what we know? Is it just about those two individuals, Mosab Hassan Yousef and Gonen Ben Yitzhak or is it about us?
N.B.: For those who have read Mosab Hassan Yousef’s book “Son of Hamas,” this film is very different than the book!
The trailer and the The Green Prince Website.
Gonen Ben Itzhak, Mosab Hassan Yousef, and Director Nadav Schirman talk about The Green Prince, (Audience Award winner at Sundance 2014).
From the director, Nadav Schirman:
I’ve been asked to share some production secrets with you, so here’s something about sharing secrets:
When you’re interested in someone romantically, one of the first things you will probably do is share secrets about yourself, things you normally don’t tell others. This creates an intimacy, a proximity, which is the foundation for the relationship to come.
The same goes between handlers and sources in the shadowy world of espionage. The sharing of secrets creates an intimate bond between handler and source. Many times handlers even talk about loving their sources, even though they send them to dangerous missions that could mean death.
In The Green Prince, the relationship between handler and source goes even further. Rarely have I seen two people share such a bond of trust. And to think they were sworn enemies!
As a director, my challenge was to create that same proximity, that intimate bond of trust with the protagonists—and in the same way between the protagonists and you, the audience. I had to set the stage for them to open up and take us into the darkest, most intimate corners of their narrative.
People say the film plays like a nail-biting thriller and reveals much about the tradecraft of espionage and handling sources. Yet for me it is mainly a story of a relationship, a relationship founded on great individual courage and trust. Not only the courage displayed on their secret missions to fight terrorism, or the bravery to follow their own moral compass, even if it meant going against the flow, but also the courage our protagonists showed during the filming of this movie.
For instance, the handcuffed hooded figure at the beginning of the film is actually Mosab—who, during the passionate telling of his arrest and interrogation, showed us how he was being held for days, tied to a chair, a hood on his face. I recall the whole film crew being stupefied. It was a powerful moment. We saw how painful it was for him to relive those experiences, but it also gave us a visceral insight into the circumstances in which he had made the decision that was to change the course of his life forever.
In fact, throughout the filming, both our leading men agreed to re-enact intense moments of their own story, to be connected to lie detectors, to withstand hours, days, of relentless interviews that surely must have felt like interrogations at times.
The trust they displayed in allowing us to lead them deeper into the emotional core of their own narrative, even to painful places—that took a great deal of courage.
Ultimately, for me, it’s a film about courage. The courage to trust the other….