The Garden of Eden is a documentary about a recreational spring in Israel. It is one of the largest and most famous. The documentary explores the backgrounds and motivations of a diverse group of people that are drawn to spend time in the same place. Though they come together because of a shared interest in the spring, their histories reveal a separation that remains. One review of the films notes, “Casual racism flows all over the place – people give it and people take it – everyone seems on the same page that it’s bad, but no one seems to know what to do to change it.”
The documentary will explore different characters’ lives. The captivating part of the trailer is the juxtaposition of the inner thoughts and confessions of the characters, which are by turns unsettling and heartbreaking, but are calmed for them (and for the viewer) by spending time at the spring. The synopsis of the film says this about a few different characters in the film: “Yaacov, whose wife left him and who has since been living a sad and lonely existence; Athir, who is planning to move to Canada because life in Israel does not enable him to reach his full potential; Yael, who was forced to wed at the age of 13 and suffered many years of physical and mental abuse; Itzhak, who has yet to recover from the death of his brother in war and seeks a refuge from the mourning in the cool waters. These are but some of the captivating and touching individuals which the camera encounters.” Still, it seems like the spring itself will become the central character that is developed through all of the different people that occupy the space.
The documentary profiles an area of the world that is filled with religious tension and “casual racism,” but it ultimately lets those issues fall away so that the universal issues everyone faces can come to the surface.