The Wanted 18
The Wanted 18Director: Paul Cowan, Amer Shomali
Palestine, Canada, France, United Arab Emirates | Arabic, English, Hebrew
Subtitles: Arabic, English
It is 1988, the still hopeful days of the first Palestinian Intifada (1987–93), and Palestinians are engaged in a civil disobedience campaign against the Israeli occupation. To bolster their boycott of Israeli taxation and commodities, residents of Beit Suhour founded a collective farm.
This set the stage for the purchase of 18 dairy cows from a nearby kibbutz, so that villagers could produce and distribute their own milk. Though they have no knowledge of commercial dairy production, the farm is a remarkable success, becoming a model for Palestinian civil resistance. The occupation authority fears this sort of resistance far more than stone-throwing youth, which is why Israel’s military governor orders the confiscation of the cows, declaring them “a danger to the security of the state of Israel.' Beit Suhour must take its cows underground.
This bittersweet tale of imaginative resistance to an absurd occupation is the subject of Paul Cowan and Amer Shomali’s charming documentary hybrid. Combining testimonial recollection, fictional recreation and stop-motion animation reminiscent of Shaun the Sheep, the documentary recounts the story of Beit Suhour from the perspective its activist/residents, two Israeli veterans sent to dismantle the farm and Rikva, Ruth, Lola and Goldie, four of the 18 unintentionally subversive bovines.