After four flights in two days, I descended through the clouds back into drizzly San Francisco. I’ve now had a little over a week to catch up on sleep and reflect upon the incredible set of experiences that made up Jericho’s Echo’s first European tour.
The last few screenings whizzed by in a blur. We had my record-setting longest Q & A (a full hour!) in Trier, and met excellent people in Aachen, where we also had the first ever forcibly removed audience member—a drunk punk shouting in slurred Polish. Overall, there are so many things that unexpectedly astounded me about the trip, even on top of the fact that little old me made a movie that people living 6,000 miles away from me came by the hundreds to see.
The first and most wonderfully surprising thing is the friendship that developed between Johannes and me. You can read a few entries back how anxious I was about spending 24/7 in a car for over 2 weeks with a total stranger who gave the impression of stereotypical German frigidness. Continue reading, however, and you can see that within a few days together, we were inseparable not by circumstance, but by choice.
(My friend Johannes)
Aside from all of our meaningful cultural exchanges (For example, did you know that Scrooge McDuck is called, “Uncle Duckleburg” in Germany?), Johannes was an excellent cultural interpreter for some of our weirder moments. We spent a lot of our time laughing, and in more serious, business-related, or just plain exhausting tour circumstances, we gave each other the necessary support and space. In short, a perfect tour relationship.
As each screening actually had a guarantee, I thought I might make a profit on this tour for once, but I never expected that the biggest gain would be a lifelong friend.
The other main point of interest for me was the curious relationship that Germans have with Israel. I felt like I was really doing something important by bringing the somewhat controversial issues in the film to the forefront for discussion among Germans, because Israeli/Palestinian issues touch a much closer nerve in German society than I expected.
I already mentioned in the Nuremburg entry the surprising (to me) split among the German left regarding Mideast politics. In the U.S., speaking from personal experience, I’ve found that one is considered somewhat of a pariah if they practice left-wing politics and still support Israel. In Germany, it seemed to be the most radical left who were most supportive of Israel. I had folks showing up at screenings in full anarchist regalia—head-to-toe black, dreadlocks, etc, with the addition of a button or baseball cap proclaiming, “Israel: We love you.” What?!
I don’t think I am the one to make it, but a documentary could definitely be fashioned about the complex, contemporary German-Jewish-Israeli dynamic.
Now that I am back and dealing with reality again, the next big step is to get the Jericho’s Echo DVD into stores and video shops and thereby into people’s personal DVD collections…publicity, publicity, publicity…ah, the fun never ends!