Wednesday, August 10, 2011

"A Modest Suggestion" on DVD

On Friday, we officially announce the availability of "A Modest Suggestion" on DVD. This is an exciting time for any filmmaker, but for me, and for this film, it is especially important.

Since "A Modest Suggestion" represents a complex social commentary, it's not enough that it be entertaining. I do hope that its viewers find it entertaining, of course, but as a personal matter, I feel that its success is really rooted in how much it encourages conversation.

I grew up in a world that desperately needed conversation -- the Israeli/Palestinian peace talks of the early '90s were a sign of tremendous hope for me (I was still in grade school, still naiive, still faithful that the best of humanity would triumph over itself). It really looked like people were communicating, and that communication was moving us all forward.

Several years later, we all got a shocking reminder of just how poorly we were all communicating, when Yitzhak Rabin was assassinated. Even as Jews, our dialog with ourselves had broken down so terribly that even one of the ten commandments was no longer inviolable. As we've learned over the years, the Palestinians are no less unified, with opposing factions grappling for control of the territories, and of the peace process itself.

The issue of communication is not just a matter for Jews to consider. It is required in (and missing from) all sorts of foreign relations, not to mention our own political system in the United States (remember the debt crisis?)

Though I am still deeply committed to the virtue of communication, it won't solve every problem. Most of "A Modest Suggestion" describes a failed communication, a kind of communication that unravels and becomes selfish, blind, short-sighted and destructive. Communication is difficult. It can require a lot of hard work, a lot of careful analysis. It can break down, sometimes catastrophically. All we can hope for is that new conversations will arise from the rubble of the old.

I urge you to see "A Modest Suggestion" this week. If you don't want to buy a copy (here:, you can rent a digital copy on

Don't see it alone. See it with friends. Talk about it. And if you have a moment, let me know what you've discussed. Leave a comment here, and I'll do my best to respond.

-Arnon Z. Shorr
Director, "A Modest Suggestion"

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