Raging Dove

"Riveting boxing film ... raw and gripping ... outstanding film!"
Dox Magazine
"I'm the only Arab-Israeli-Palestinian-Muslim-Baptist-American World Champion I know"
Johar Abu Lashin

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Hailed as a "bruising but illuminating" film by The New York Times, Raging Dove follows the story of Johar Abu Lashin, a Palestinian by birth, an Israeli by circumstance, and an American by choice. Regarded as a collaborator by Palestinians, an enemy by Israelis and a foreigner by Americans, he is ultimately torn between his three identities and the wars that rage within and around him. The only place where Abu Lashin can truly find peace is in the ring.

Yet Abu Lashin's desire to bring the ring to his hometown of Nazareth is also his downfall, as he finds himself on unsure footing against an opponent much bigger than him: Middle Eastern politics.

It was in 1998 that I first came across the story of Johar Abu Lashin. A small news item in the back-pages of a local Israeli newspaper reported: a world champion boxer, a Palestinian citizen of Israel, defeated only by the flags he has waved upon victory (first Israeli, then Palestinian) is trying to make a comeback in the Middle East. My curiosity led me all the way to a small town in Eastern Tennessee to meet the man behind the story. Immediately, I was struck by Johar’s inner contradictions-sensitive and vulnerable yet hard and volatile. The first thing I look for when I make a documentary is the inner drama of the character.

Raging Dove is the story of an individual: a man’s trajectory, his ups and downs, his struggle to overcome, triumph, succeed, or at least not fail. Johar Abu Lashin is a Palestinian by birth, an Israeli by circumstance, and an American by choice (though by and large Palestinians regard him as a collaborator, Israelis as an enemy, and Americans as a foreigner). As such, not only are none of these identities complete, they also fragment him. A man in constant battle with himself, the only place where he truly feels whole, or at home, is in the ring.

Documentary   |   Israel, USA   |   2002   

54/67 min

Hebrew, English, Arabic    

Subtitles: French, Arabic, Hebrew, English

Director: Duki Dror & Tzachi Schiff   

Script: Galia Engelmayer Dror   

Cinematography: Philippe Bellaiche   

Editor: Sara Salomon   

Original Music: Israel Bright