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American filmmaker James Longley traveled to Gaza in January 2001, hoping to make a documentary about the second Palestinian intifada four months earlier, but after he was denied access to the PLO he decided to make this film about the precarious existence of ordinary Palestinians in the Gaza Strip. In the press package Longley is careful not to take sides, but the constant barrage of artillery shells, the civilians' complaints, and the images of children convulsing from exposure to an unidentified gas offer a ringing indictment of the Sharon government. The film focuses on Mohammed, an Arab boy who curses Jews for what they've done to his friends and family; near the end of the film he smiles at the camera and declares that he wants to martyr himself and attain paradise, a testament to the region's bleak future. In Arabic and French with subtitles. 74 min. Longley will lead a discussion after each screening. WIDC Theater, Saturday, April 20, 7:30, and Univ. of Chicago, Monday, April 22, 7:30.

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