The UW Cinematheque will present a special screening, May 15 at 7:30 p.m., of Otto Preminger's Exodus ' "unusually appropriate during this time of increased focus on Israel and Palestine," according to the group's press release. But I wonder about that. Clocking in at 3 hours, 1960's Exodus is epic filmmaking at its...most epic. Which is to say, it's a TV miniseries shot in Panavision and Technicolor. It's also rather dull, Preminger plowing his way through Israel's birthing process as if he had all the time in the world. Only the location work ' Preminger and his crew were given carte blanche by the Israeli government ' redeems this cinematic history text.
Paul Newman plays an underground Zionist who has to take on the British, then the extremists on his own side, then the Arabs in his effort to bring about a Jewish homeland. Eva Marie Saint is the shiksa who loves him. And there's so little chemistry between these two that we're forced to contemplate the movie's politics, which are so pro-Israel as to have almost left out the Arabs altogether. So is Exodus an appropriate movie to screen at this time? Not unless it's accompanied by a Palestinian movie, I'd say. Alas, there are no big-budget Palestinian movies, certainly none that last 3 hours. Exodus is history written by the winners...and the long-winded.