chapter  4
23 Pages

A Heart from Jenin: Transformation, Mediation, Vulnerability

WithRuth Illman

This chapter presents the story of Ahmed and Samah and analyzes the pre-requisites, possibilities and novel perspectives provided by their story for the research on intercultural and interreligious encounters. It discusses two different kinds of intercultural and interreligious mediators brought to the fore in the film A Heart from Jenin. The first topic concerned two prominent symbolic motifs in the film: the heart and the gift. The second, and rather different, kind of mediator discussed was the filmmaker herself. The chapter analyses the ability of the symbolic elements to initialize a transformation of otherness that can be apprehended in many scenes portrayed in the film. The heart transplant becomes a tangible example of transforming otherness. The sound of a beating heart overtakes the scene, a rhythmical and persistent pulse accompanied by the image of a red heart muscle. The subject of vulnerability occurs as a key concern also in Nora Ahlberg's reflections on methodological problems facing researchers dealing with sensitive issues.