In June 2002, Mohammad Hazaa Al-Ghoul blew himself up on a Jerusalem bus, killing 20 people and injuring 50. This documentary charts the bombing’s impact on the dozens of people from across the social and political spectrum whom it directly affected, from the niece of the bomber to the parents of the dead, the Israeli Defence Force officer who planned the retaliatory strike to those it targeted… It’s inevitably sobering, showing the vengeful rage on both sides and the political exploitation of such anger, along with telling details like security-conscious changes to Israeli bus design. We hear Al-Ghoul described as a financially stable Masters student who wanted to do ‘an honourable act’, then see his severed face lying on the bloody tarmac; we watch a man make a headstone for his wife. It’s stylistically confident, even slick, effectively building tension in its account of the lead-up to the explosion, but less satisfying as argument or narrative: the constantly shifting roster of interviewees atomises the situation rather than surveying it cohesively, while laying out the case’s major events early on reduces any sense of their tragic momentum.
Friday March 31 2006
Andrew Quigley, Steven Silver