She films. She leaves. She returns. The rockets fall. She gets closer to the community. She rents a house with one of the band members—a chance to film this guy who won’t be filmed. She discovers, when she buys furniture in Tel Aviv, that most drivers won’t deliver to Sderot. Too dangerous. (Unspoken: What’s a nice American Jewish blonde doing in a town like this?)
The answer, as Bialis says in the film: “There was an intensity of life in Sderot like nowhere else. It was life in Technicolor. Not knowing what could happen at any moment made us treasure the simplest things. It was live hard and party hard.”
This is the extreme example of what many an American Jew feels visiting Israel. Coming from our comfortable-yet-caring middle class existence, we get turned on by the life-and-death reality of Israel. “Rock in the Red Zone,” with its footage of panicked and bleeding people, destroyed homes and red hot music, captures the turn-on.
Amazing that we Americans know so little about daily life in Sderot. Even more amazing— as Bialis makes clear—that Israelis don’t know either. Tel Avivis, just an hour’s drive from Sderot, don’t want to know about this parallel world. When one of the Sderot musicians wants his music video to be recorded in the place that inspired it, he’s refused. The likelihood of the blaring red alert – the loud speaker 15-second warning before rockets land – messing up the recording is too great a risk. The video was made in a nearby town, but this reviewer thinks the reality of the red alert blast might’ve added that special something that is Sderot.