2012 Sundance Docs in Focus: THE LAW IN THESE PARTS

The World Cinema Documentary Competition heads to the West Bank and Gaza Strip, care of Israeli director Ra’anan Alexandrowicz: THE LAW IN THESE PARTS explores the unique system of military law that has been developed to adjudicate an occupied population.

Sundance Program Description:

“This film is not about the people who broke the law, but about those entrusted with the law,” says director Ra’anan Alexandrowicz about his latest project. Ambitiously perceived, sparely designed, and meticulously executed, THE LAW IN THESE PARTS is commanding and compassionate as it goes to the heart of Israel’s moral quandary. In this country founded on democratic principles, Alexandrowicz asks—in both simple and profound terms—can justice truly be served in the occupied territories given the current system of law administered by Israel for Palestinians?

Divided into five chapters, the film is precisely argued, disciplined, and dramatic as it considers the repercussions of the complex and unusual legal framework created in the territories following the 1967 Six-Day War. The research took years, and the evidence is irrefutable, as those agreeing to be interviewed steadily reveal the contradictions being sustained by an entire nation, of which Alexandrowicz is painfully aware.

Some Background:
Like this film, Alexandrowicz’s first documentary, MARTIN, received Best Documentary at the Jerusalem Film Festival. His second doc, THE INNER TOUR (2002), screened at Sundance, while his first narrative feature, JAMES’ JOURNEY TO JERUSALEM screened at Cannes and Toronto. His current project received support from the Sundance Documentary Film program, and participated in the Documentary Edit and Story Lab and Documentary Composers Lab. The film’s producer, Liran Atzmor, previously produced VOICES FROM EL-SAYED, which picked up an award at Full Frame, while its co-producer, BZ Goldberg, previously directed the Oscar-nominated PROMISES. Among the doc’s executive producers are fellow Oscar-nominee and Sundance alum Laura Poitras (THE OATH).

Why You Should Watch:
The doc employs a spare but striking interview set-up that focuses the audience on the military law judges who are pointedly questioned by the filmmaker just off-camera. This interrogation turns the tables on those who are used to enforcing the law, confronting them with its inconsistencies, and laying bare injustice. Supplementing this, Alexandrowicz and his team deftly integrate archival footage of old court proceedings, reminding the viewer of the people this strange system of law is leveled against.

More Info:
Take a look at the film’s website and Facebook page. Alexandrowicz speaks to Indiewire about his doc here. For screening dates and times at Sundance, click the link in the first paragraph.

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Filed under Documentary, Film, Film Festivals, Recommendations, Sundance

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