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Center for Middle Eastern and North African Studies pres.

CMENAS Film Screening. "Rachel"

Simon Bitton, Director | France 2009, DV, 100 min | Not rated

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On March 16, 2003, in the almost uninterrupted tide of Middle Eastern current affairs and just before the war in Iraq, a small tragic event was reported by some press agencies, just a few lines in the newspaper, or a 45 -second report on television: A young American peace activist was killed in the Gaza Strip, crushed by an Israeli bulldozer while she was trying to prevent the destruction of a Palestinian house.

A few weeks later, some media reports mentioned that the Israeli military police conducted an inquiry, concluding that Rachel Corrie's death was accidental. Despite many eyewitnesses claims that she was intentionally murdered by the bulldozer driver, the American administration never asked for an independent inquiry, and the case was classified and forgotten.

Five years later, director Simone Bitton is somehow doing what a court should have done. "RACHEL" is a deep cinema investigation into the death of a young unknown girl, made with a rigour and scope normally reserved for first-rate historical characters. It gives word to all the people involved in Rachel's story, from Palestinian and international witnesses to Israeli military spokespersons and investigators, doctors, activists and soldiers linked to the affair. The film begins as a classical documentary, but very soon it develops and transcends its subject, transforming into a cinematographic meditation on youth, war, idealism and political utopia. Palestine, the reality of which is filmed close-up, becomes a metaphor - a tomb for a child of today.

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