“Salt” by Alona Harpaz follows a group of pilgrims from Ghana in a tour of Jerusalem with tour guide Ehud, the artist’s father. The holy sites along their trajectory, such as the Western Wall, the Dome of the Rock or the Via Dolorosa play backdrop to events and situations ranging from religious ecstasy to the anecdotal and mundane. The film deals with this interplay between the holy and profane as it is manifested in Jerusalem, an ancient city riddled with divisions and conflicts but also maintaining an enduring status quo. By extension, the artist uses those themes to look at Israel today.
This film is part of a trilogy of short films made around the expression ‘salt of the earth,’ examining it in different contexts related to the reality of life in Israel. While originating in the New Testament, many in Israel are oblivious of its origin and use it to designate a distinctively Israeli type of virtue and rootedness. By intersecting such notions and cultures, Harpaz aims to generate a disenchanted and equivocal look at the conflicts and tensions that shape Israeliness today. Further she asks what sanctity could mean when viewed against patriotism, and how values of universality cohabit with those related to nation on the one hand and to the personal on the other.