Monday, 9 September 2013

The Attack

The Attack, made by Lebanese filmmaker Ziad Doueiri, is based on the novel by Yasmina Khadra (pen name for Mohammed Moulessehoul, a former Algerian army officer).  It’s the fascinating account of a man’s desperate search to uncover the truth behind the accusation that his wife is a suicide bomber responsible for the death of 17 people, including 11 children, in a Tel Aviv restaurant.

Ali Suliman plays the man in question, a Palestinian doctor named Amin Jaafari who has become a respected member of the Israeli medical establishment in Tel Aviv. Jaafari cannot begin to comprehend what has happened to him and Suliman conveys this brilliantly in a marvellous understated performance (he is in almost every scene). The actors around him are also very good. In combination with the excellent cinematography, the result is a film that feels very real. 

What makes The Attack unique, however, is its sympathetic take on suicide bombing, refusing to make clear moral judgments even in such an extreme case. Not that the film condones such activities. On the contrary, by putting a human face on terrorism and showing how ordinary people, in the face of constant oppression, can be driven, in their despair, to unimaginable actions, The Attack is a plea for understanding and peace.

About the content of his books, Moulessehoul has said: “Because fanaticism is a threat for all, I contribute to the understanding of its causes and backgrounds. Perhaps then it will be possible to find a way to bring it under control.” 

The Attack is compassionate, humanizing and thought-provoking and gets a solid ***+.

1 comment:

  1. This is a very well made film, and a top of what you mention i would add a good, fitting soundtrack. But it is hard to accept the sympathetic take on suicide bombing. It's one thing to understand the hurting, exiled psalmist crying out, "blessed be the one who takes your infants and dashes them against the rocks," but it's quite another to accept celebrating when this is actually done. So, for me the best I could do is ***