The Oslo Diaries

By: Jessica Goddard

A well-paced timeline of the 1990s peace negotiations in the Middle East, The Oslo Diaries skillfully articulates the sense of both hope and skepticism in the period.  Directed by Mor Loushy and Daniel Sivan, the filmmakers use diary excerpts, historical footage, news clips, and participant commentary to paint a picture of simultaneous optimism and doubt surrounding the Oslo Accords.

In the early 1990s, a small group of Israeli and Palestinian negotiators met secretly in Oslo to discuss the potential for peace.  Since the meetings are forbidden, they’re completely undocumented except for the diary entries of the participants – which are read as a device to narrate the film’s historical timeline.  The narrative spans from the private meetings in Oslo – in which enemies were regarding one another with suspicion – to the signing of the Oslo Accords, to the eventual election of a new Israeli government.

The storytelling is good, though perhaps at just over 90-minutes of runtime is a little too concise to do justice to a conflict as layered and complex as the ones addressed by the Oslo Accords.  Along these lines, the documentary doesn’t do much to explain the reasons for the tensions and bloodshed in the region, making this film generally inaccessible for those who don’t already have an understanding of – or interest in – the politics of the Middle East.


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