Esther Takac is a child and adult trauma psychologist, consultant, author and talented documentary filmmaker. Her latest project, The Narrow Bridge, takes viewers on a poignant and eye-opening journey into the heart of trauma, healing and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Takac’s inspiration for The Narrow Bridge came her twelve years experience as a volunteer psychologist at a hospital in Jerusalem with Israeli and Palestinian children and families. The Israeli Palestinian Memorial Ceremony for Victims of the Conflict was the catalyst for her documentary.
“I was really blown away by it. I found it very emotionally powerful. I saw those bereaved people taking their pain and grief and transforming it into something positive”.
The film explores the lives of Meytal, Bassam, Rami and Bushra, ordinary people on both sides of the conflict; each with their own harrowing experiences of heart-breaking loss. Meytal, and Rami are Israeli; Bassam and Bushra, Palestinian. The film follows their paths from devastating trauma to courageous activism.
The title, The Narrow Bridge, speaks to the journey of building a bridge of compassion between two societies that allows each to understand the loss and pain people on the other side experience.
As well as this cross-community bridge, Meytal, Bassam, Rami and Bushra have each crossed an internal bridge – in their personal journeys from grief to social activism, from trauma to post-traumatic growth.
Post-traumatic growth is a new concept researched and developed over the past few decades, that shows people developing new strengths after trauma.
“They have a heightened awareness of being alive. In a way, it’s related to very ancient concepts of how we can grow through pain or suffering,” outlines Takac.
The challenges faced by the documentary-maker included language barriers, financial constraints, and navigating dangerous and unstable areas. An informed, fair and balanced outcome was at the core of the film-maker’s intention. During the five-year long production, Takac created her own production company, Grit and Grace Media. Her advice to aspiring film-makers embarking on similar journeys is to be dogged and stubborn but in equal-measures, graceful.
“I feel like you need so much grit; but you have to be careful to not lose your grace”.
The film has already won a range of awards including Outstanding Excellence Award at the Docs Without Borders International Film Festival, the Impact DOCS Award for Documentary Feature, and the Audience Award for a number of festivals.
The Narrow Bridge is a documentation of complexity and nuance on human nature, the conflict in Israel/Palestine, and the evolution through PTSD to Post-traumatic growth. Takac describes the intricate social, political, and historical factors that have contributed to the ongoing strife in the region. By presenting a range of perspectives and experiences, The Narrow Bridge challenges viewers to consider their own assumptions and biases about the conflict.
The Narrow Bridge will have a very special Q&A screening – with Israeli Rami Elhanan, Palestinian Bassam Aramin and film director/producer Esther Takac, presented by Jewish International Film Festival.
Thursday, May 18, 7.30 pm
Randwick Ritz, 45 St Pauls St, Randwick