Knowledge is the Beginning’s Movie Poster

Jewish Film Festival

Knowledge is the Beginning

US Premiere

For many years, conductor and pianist Daniel Barenboim has worked towards reconciling Arabs and Israelis. Based on the notion that “music is the language of peace,” Barenboim and comparative literature professor Edward Said brought together Arab and Israeli musicians, along with a handful of German artists, to perform in Weimar on the 250th anniversary of the birth of Goethe. Also participating in this bold experiment in 1999 was Yo-Yo Ma. The West-Eastern Divan Orchestra, a name derived from a collection of poems by Goethe, today embraces eighty Arab and Israeli musicians aged thirteen to twenty-six. Director Paul Smaczny has followed the orchestra since its inception. The film chronicles all five summer workshops in Weimar and Seville, Barenboim’s visit to Ramallah and Jerusalem in May 2004-during which he received the prestigious Wolf Prize at the Knesset-as well as the celebrated concert in Geneva and highlights of the 2005 European tour.


Germany, 2005, 115 min, Not Rated, Directed by Paul Smaczny


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