My Terrorist (2002) / Vivisect (2003)

My Terrorist, 2002 (Yulie Cohen Gerstel)

Provocative, insightful, passionate, and courageous, My Terrorist chronicles Ms. Cohen Gerstel’s controversial campaign to win the parole release of a convicted PLO (Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine) terrorist Fahad Mihyi who, in 1978, had boarded and opened fire on a London bus occupied by Ms. Cohen Gerstel and the rest of the El Al (Israeli airline) flight crew, resulting in the death of several of her colleagues and her own severe wounding. A proud Israeli national and military veteran, the filmmaker nevertheless began to examine the complex and difficult situation of the Arab-Israeli conflict from a different perspective after working as a photojournalist in the occupied territory of the Gaza Strip. Witnessing the profound economic disparity and inhumane living conditions that contribute to the cycle of hate, exclusion, and violence, Ms. Cohen Gerstel sought to help bridge the deep-rooted ideological gulf between the Israeli and the Palestinians with a symbolic, humanitarian gesture of interacting with the isolated Fahad, then subsequently, writing a testimonial letter of support for his release. Inevitably, despite the (deliberately) inconclusive fate of Fahad, what emerges is a personal documentary of reconciliation and closure that is both honest, fearless, and profoundly inspiring.

 

Vivisect, 2003 (Marija Gajicki)

The incisive short film, Vivisect, captures the polarized public reaction in the Serbian city of Novi Sad to a gallery exhibition of Ron Haviv’s war photography, a photojournalist who has chronicled a decade of divisive and destructive wars that resulted in the breakup of Yugoslavia. Having intentionally left the photographs uncaptioned and instead, providing a blank sheet of paper on the side, Haviv and the museum organizers soon find the papers defaced with impassioned, often vitriolic comments that reflect the country’s unreconciled sentiment of guilt, intolerance, and chauvinism, but also a regret for the collective tragedy of war.

© Acquarello 2003. All rights reserved.

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