The film essay is a fairly recondite genre, but it's safe to say that there has never been an example like this. It's a film of a book: the Italian writer Franco Fortini is seen and heard reading sections from his book The Dogs of Sinai, in which he attacks Italian reactions to the war in Palestine in the light of his own part-Jewish upbringing. Although Straub completely respects the integrity of Fortini's words, he 'contexts' the argument in a number of provocative ways. A haunting image of a seashore at night, or a brief extract from Schoenberg's Moses and Aaron, are enough to underline the element of melodrama in Fortini's autobiography; a placid study of the hills where Nazis massacred the Italian resistance is enough to generate a meditation on the meaning of Fortini's anti-fascism. The film draws attention to issues of frightening relevance, and yet allows the viewer plenty of space to think and feel.