Film Review: “The Wanted 18”

June 26, 2015

Directors of the animated documentary, The Wanted 18, Paul Cowan and Amer Shomali reveal a thrilling real-life narrative of 18 delinquent cows that resulted in a frantic chase involving hundreds of Israeli soldiers and two helicopters.

This inventive comical blend of stop frame animation, interviews from both the Palestinian and Israeli viewpoint, and engaging visual re-enactments captures the story of a Palestinian town, Beit Sahour, in 1988 during the First Intifada. The film is told from the viewpoint of four whimsical cows that appear in claymation animated sequences.

As an act of defiance and economical independence, the town of Beit Sahour imported 18 cows from Israel to start a local dairy industry. Initially, the local Israeli governors didn’t see a threat. However, as the co-op flourished, little did the townspeople suspect that their beloved cows would quite soon become a national threat. Not long after the initiation of the importation, officials declared the cows to be a danger for the security of the State of Israel and ordered Jalal Oumsieh, a high school teacher, to get rid of the cattle within 24 hours.

In response to the restrictions, the Palestinians devised ways to keep the herd and the dairy business hidden. Frustrated by the crackdown, the town collectively boycotted Israeli products triggering the hunt for the “dangerous” cows.

Although the tale veers from comedy to drama to tragedy, this ingenious documentary is boldly entertaining, with many thanks to the talking cows’ senses of humor. Ultimately, the film serves as a macrocosm for the Palestinian resistance, and these 18 cows became an inspiration and a symbol for resistance during the First Intifada.

To request a screening in a theater near you, please visit Gathr campaign. 



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