"And Europe Will Be Stunned might be Bartana's masterpiece: a deeply provocative meditation on Jewish identity that levels political punches with surreal wit" (The Guardian)
"Deeply stirring... stunningly well made" (The Observer)
And Europe Will Be Stunned revolves around the activities of the Jewish Renaissance Movement in Poland (JRMiP), a political group that calls for the return of 3,300,000 Jews to the land of their forefathers.
What is a return? In her film trilogy And Europe Will Be Stunned, Yael Bartana pushes to their furthest point, almost beyond endurance, the pained preoccupations of her earlier work. Born in Jezreel Valley, south of lower Galilee, Bartana lived in New York and then Amsterdam for several years before returning briefly to Israel in 2006. Since 2000, Israel-Palestine has become the focus of her work. And yet, in every artistic gesture she has made since what might seem like a partial homecoming (she describes herself as an 'ongoing returnee') she has mounted the fiercest challenge and rebellion to the concept of return as a final, redemptive destination which is its overwhelming meaning in the language of Israeli nationhood.
He speaks loudly, as though he were not delivering his speech to an empty stadium. As we watch him on screen, the echo of his words touches us, bringing back the memory of a language that is foreign and familiar, metallic and warm, inviting and restrictive. A group of some twelve teenagers forms an arc on the grass, acting as his audience (live or in the editing suite?), their gazes held aloft. The tone of his voice and the content of his words elevates his speech to prophecy. This is a moment of exaltation, and exaltation is necessary. To appeal to a people anew - to call upon a whole people who are no longer whole - something in that plea (either in the speaker or in the call) must come from a great distance, a place altogether different, from another time, from the otherness of time.