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Review: ‘Love is Tolerance’ asks important questions, but it’s vague with answers

Besuch seiner Heiligkeit des XIV Dalai Lama in Hessen vom 22. bis 24. August 2011
The Dalai Lama, left, and filmmaker Hubertus Hoffmann from the documentary “Love is Tolerance.”
(Erhard Blatt)

The documentary/video essay “Love is Tolerance,” the feature directorial debut of German film producer Hubertus Hoffmann, is both an impassioned plea and a quest for answers, solace and hope in a world that seems to be increasingly intolerant and hateful. Hoffman opens with pixelated images of Islamic State and neo-Nazis marching in the streets, digital blood dripping from these images, as a calm female narrator asks the audience, “How can we all make tolerance great again?”

The film purports to be a “worldwide search for global nuggets of tolerance,” and with a hypnotic background image of a spinning globe, along with groovy political rap, we hop from place to place, conflict to conflict, popping into interviews about the nature of tolerance with subjects such as a Muslim female fighter pilot in the United Arab Emirates, to religious and political leaders such as former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak and former Polish Archbishop Alfons Nossol.

But the questions and examples here are all a bit too broad, skipping from the Emirates to Belgium, Israel and Palestinian territories. The message seems to be that all religions teach some form of tolerance and love, and that we should embrace this common ground. But the film has a vaguely infomercial feel, relying on broad platitudes about loving oneself and others, rather than diving deep into a specific story that may unearth new insights. The intentions are admirable, but the execution and ideas are far too vague.

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‘Love is Tolerance’

Not rated

Running time: 1 hour, 25 minutes

Playing: Laemmle Music Hall, Beverly Hills

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