Friday, August 9, 2013

NEW REVIEW: The Attack

I thought that this movie was going to be more of a thriller. But it was really more of a glimpse into a world that I will never in a million years begin to understand.

Dr. Amin Jaafari kisses his wife of 15 years goodbye, sends her on a bus to go visit a relative, then goes off to receive his big medical award for being Surgeon-of-the-Year (or something like that). During his acceptance speech he speaks about being the first Arab to receive this award. Dr. Jaafari lives and works in Tel Aviv.

Next day, lunchtime--BOOM--explosion somewhere in town---bloody bodies coming into the hospital for care. Children crying. One man refuses treatment from Dr. Jaafari (presumably because he is an Arab). Reports surface of a suicide bomber at a local restaurant.  And guess who the authorities suspect is responsible? Siham Jaafari, the doctor's wife.

The doctor is outraged and 100% sure his wife had nothing to do with this. I was 100% sure she had nothing to do with this. But this is a movie that is going to try to explain, just a little bit, how someone who seems pretty normal can become a suicide bomber.

What I liked:

1. I learned a bit more about life in The Territories. (I really can't even read about the conflicts because I get confused and don't know what to think. I hate that feeling of never being able to distinguish right from wrong and truth from lies).
2. I saw the spectrum of people from those who seemed like crazed fanatics to those who completely avoided involvement (like Amin). And then there are all those in the middle ranging from people who simply sympathize with the resistance to those that are actively engaged in resistance, yet don't actually seem crazy.

In truth, this was a depressing film. I just felt hopeless for the people there. I just don't see any way out.

That doesn't mean it wasn't an interesting movie. You should just be prepared for the feeling you will be left with. Still, it's always a good thing to be reminded of other people's realities.

Monday, August 5, 2013


I am not a 'Save the Whales' person, nor am I any kind of activist for animals, much less anything else. I'm sure I should be, but I'm not. I tell you this just so you don't feel that you have to have this area of interest in order to enjoy this film.

By 'enjoy', of course, I don't mean 'have a jolly time.' I mean 'have a worthwhile experience that makes you feel your time and money were well-spent.' Maybe 'appreciate' would have been a better choice of word. Anyhow, the film is a good one. Very thought-provoking.

For one thing, I never really gave SeaWorld much thought. I think I saw one of those dolphin/whale shows many years ago, but, frankly, it was never really of great interest to me, so I didn't think about it much. I don't really like the circus at all, and I think carting animals all across the country in cages to do shows is a bad idea, but I never gave a second thought to the marine-life shows.

Blackfish does a very good job of capturing your interest regardless of whether or not the subject interested you before. It moves compellingly along weaving historical information with recent events and the stories of the lives of whales as told by their human trainers and researchers. I quite enjoyed learning about the natural tendencies of the orcas in the wild. Did you know they travel with their moms for life? You couldn't help but feel the love for these intelligent, social, community-oriented beings.

And speaking of love, there are several truly poignant interviews with trainers. You can see how deeply bonded they become to these whales. It is heartbreaking to hear some of the stories of how a young person comes so enthusiastically into the training system yet learns over time that it just doesn't feel right. The film presents its case clearly, simply, and engagingly.

After seeing Blackfish, despite the arguments presented by SeaWorld, I can now say, unequivocally, the whale shows are a bad idea. I gather that SeaWorld does a lot of work to raise awareness of marine mammals and to raise money for rescue and research. Those are great things, and donations can be made specifically to the sub-division in SeaWorld that focuses on those things, but I can no longer see supporting the entertainment division, ever, at all. They can get into the whale-watching business or some other program whereby you can observe the orcas in their natural habitat, but Seaworld needs to be pressured into stopping the breeding of whales into captivity for the purpose of these shows. It's really disturbing.

I feel like this documentary is an eye-opener that pretty much anyone will find compelling. I'd like you to check it out.