In 1990, dreaming of a simple life working the sea, 15 Israeli families started a settlement named Dugit amongst the Palestinian fishermen just south of the Green Line in Gaza. The Palestinians accommodated them, taught them to fish and shared the bounty equally--"like brothers," as one of the Israelis says. Palestinians and Israelis worked hard together, ate hearty meals together and were joined by a communal spirit. It was a picture of blissful, unselfconscious coexistence.
Following the same families for more than 15 years, director Gil Karni is with them in 2000 when the second Intifada breaks out, and we watch as their trust and camaraderie evaporate in a flash. It is shocking to witness how quickly a positive atmosphere turns negative. Gunfire echoes not far away, and as the hot breath of violence moves closer, no one even considers a conciliatory attempt to build on years of mutual goodwill. Instead, a gap opens and hardens instantly, and walls and fences and a ubiquitous Israel Defense Force presence become the new "natural" order. It all leads to disengagement and evacuation in August 2005. While Yoav Shamir's brilliant 5 Days gives us a snapshot of that historic moment, Karni's Troubled Water is the extended view--an Israeli perspective on the long 15-year path to disengagement. "Brimming with disturbing and iconic images, Troubled Water holds up a dark mirror, challenging us to ask ourselves what we believe to be the true human instinct.