Tuesday, January 13, 2015

13-Jan-15: Terrorism: watching its victims, trying to understand their experiences

We took a very small part over the last several years in the making of documentary film that is about to have its first performance. Called "Watching the Moon at Night", it provides an incisive analysis of terrorism and antisemitism, the work of award-winning filmmakers Joanna Helander and Bo Persson who jointly directed. We viewed a pre-release version and found it emotionally nuanced and thought-provoking in the most positive and challenging sense.

The new film was produced by Kino Koszyk HB, of Sweden, in co-operation with Film i Väst and Sveriges Television AB, Sweden's national television broadcaster. Support also came from the Swedish Film Institute.

The debut screening is to take place in Sweden's parliament on January 21, 2015, to be followed by a discussion. Readers in Israel should save the date: a special screening in Jerusalem's Konrad Adenauer Center in the Mishkenot Sha'ananim compound, on March 3, 2015. Details to follow.

Filmed in six countries, Watching the Moon at Night focuses on the victims’ experiences and juxtaposes them against the views of world experts in this field. As a result, the film goes far beyond the stereotyped perception of terrorism.

From the documentary film's website:
We know who the terrorists are, but who writes the script and who directs it? Terrorism is not a form of resistance, terrorism is a form of denying the world. Terrorism can come from the extreme right, from the extreme left, from religious fanatics. Or a mixture of religious fanaticism and nationalism...
What is the connection between European nazism and fascism of the last century and the lethal terrorism of today? Who are the godfathers of contemporary terrorist groups? Why is poverty assumed to be a root of terrorism?
The terrorist is never a terrorist in his own eyes. Today's terrorism is directed mainly at civilians. What are the human rights for victims of terrorism? Why can not the United Nations prevent genocide and terrorism?
Walter Laqueur, the world renowned German-Jewish historian, who left his native Breslau for Palestine on the day before Kristallnacht 1938, is one of the inspirations for Watching the Moon at Night. He is also an important participant in the film which explores the many faces of contemporary terrorism, its frequent connections to anti-Semitism, and its roots in the history of 20th century political violence.
Some comments from some prescreening subject-experts:
  • "Among the most powerful, intelligent, and timely documentaries on terrorism available... Makes an invaluable contribution to our understanding of politically and religiously motivated violence--and its corrosive consequences on society and individuals alike." - Professor Bruce Hoffman, Georgetown University, Washington DC, and author of ”Inside Terrorism”.
  • "Shows the common ground shared by victims the world over and the similarities between the perpetrators. In the film there is no simplifying thesis, no 'political correctness'. The perspective of the filmmakers is personal and emotional. The film truly makes you think." - Agnieszka Holland, Film director and Chairwoman of the European Film Academy
  • "An intellectually informative, visually compelling, emotionally moving and highly disturbing exploration of the phenomena of terrorism in our time. By exploring its roots, listening to its victims and showing its consequences “Watching the Moon at Night” sheds important new light on the scourge of our time. The film remained with me long after the screen went dark, remained with me and touched the darkness and the rage of our age”.  - Michael Berenbaum, First Project Director of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum
  • "An illuminating and poetic film which deserves a wide audience" - Robert S. Wistrich, head of the Vidal Sassoon International Centre for the study of Anti-Semitism
  • "As a film commissioner at The Swedish Film Institute I read about a thousand scripts, both feature films and feature length documentaries. Among the creative documentaries not a single one had the impact, the intelligence and the scope of ”Watching the Moon at Night”. It is a rare film on a subject widely talked about – but never quite in this compelling way. The film digs too deeply to be ”politically correct” and becomes a little scary, especially in a country like Sweden where political correctness seems to be the religion of the day." Marianne Ahrne, Film Director and Writer
Here's a 2m20s trailer:

No comments: