You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

The Law in These Parts

In "The Law in These Parts," one of Israel's most creative nonfiction filmmakers places judges and attorneys on the cinematic witness stand to explain Israel's contorted 45-year-old military legal structure governing Palestinians in the occupied territories.

With:
With: Justice Meir Shamgar, Dov Shefi, Abraham Pachter, Alexander Ramti, Jair Rabinovich, Justice Amnon Strashnov, Ilan Katz, Oded Pesensson, Jonathan Livny. Narrator: Ra'anan Alexandrowicz.

In “The Law in These Parts,” one of Israel’s most creative nonfiction filmmakers places judges and attorneys on the cinematic witness stand to explain Israel’s contorted 45-year-old military legal structure governing Palestinians in the Occupied Territories. Adopting a postmodern method quite different from that of his remarkable “The Inner Tour,” Ra’anan Alexandrowicz poses his questions from a legal angle, and finds these minds stumped by a system they’ve professionally defended. Pic’s Sundance world docu jury prize will raise its profile, with good prospects for positive verdicts from doc and Jewish-themed fests and Euro cablers.

According to the filmmaker, it was the arrest of a Palestinian youth filmed in “The Inner Tour” that began his investigation into the legal system that governs Palestinian non-citizens in the territory occupied by Israel since the 1967 war. Little known by the general Israeli public, the enforcement of laws and governance in occupied lands is overseen by the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF). As a result, any Palestinian arrested in occupied lands is subject to a military brand of law quite unlike civilian-based law.

The resulting Kafkaesque system was the byproduct of assumptions that it would be temporary, and would give way to a different, permanent legal structure once the phase of occupation ceased. At the heart of the upside-down logic of the IDF’s ongoing governance is that the sheer passage of time has legitimized this temporary solution. But to apply Israeli law in these circumstances would, the judges try to explain to Alexandrowicz, effectively be granting citizenship to Palestinians.

Alexandrowicz positions his seated interviewees — some looking reluctant, others puzzled, still others contentious — at a table on a raised platform in front of a large green screen on which is frequently projected archival footage of arrests and trials of Palestinian suspects. The judges and attorneys often turn to watch the footage being simultaneously seen by the doc’s aud, resulting in a postmodern approach that invites the viewer into the director’s inquiry.

The film takes a particular look at the 1968 case of accused terrorist Omar Mohammad Al-Qassem, who led a Palestinian Liberation Army guerrilla unit against the Israeli army before his arrest. His claim of POW status was rejected by the court’s judge, on the grounds Qassem didn’t rate per the Geneva Convention as an enemy combatant. Yet, Alexandrowicz notes to his interviewees, Qassem also was not a civilian in any conventional sense. So what was he?

The pic particularly shows military thinking applied to what were fundamentally civilian matters in determining the legal basis for Jewish settlements in occupied land. Justice Meir Shamgar, who emerges as a major figure in the film, describes how he arrived at a legal framework for allowing settlements, inspired by the Ottoman-era “Mawat” (or unused) land provision that OK’d occupiers to reside in areas not used for farming or dwelling.

Shark De Mayo’s lensing brings visual density to the filming of talking heads, with the heavily researched archival footage on the green screen creating a theatrical effect — and serving to jog those heads’ memories.

The Law in These Parts

Israel-U.S.-Germany

Production: A Noga Communications presentation. (International sales: Ro*co Films Intl., Sausalito, Calif.) Produced by Liran Atzmor. Executive producers, Laura Poitras, Martin Hagemann. Co-producer, B.Z. Goldberg. Directed, written by Ra'anan Alexandrowicz.

Crew: Camera (color, B&W, DV), Shark De Mayo; editor, Neta Dvorkis; music, Karni Postel; sound (stereo), Tully Chen, Amos Zipori, Ravid Dvir; sound designer, Ronen Nagel; re-recording mixer, Nagel; research, Alexandrowicz, Reuma Gome, Avichay Sharon, Hillel Cohen, Raz Hazon; visual effects supervisors, Gil Elnatan, Dan Owen. Reviewed at Sundance Film Festival (World Cinema -- competing), Jan. 23, 2012. (Also in 2011 Jerusalem Film Festival.) Running time: 101 MIN.

Cast: With: Justice Meir Shamgar, Dov Shefi, Abraham Pachter, Alexander Ramti, Jair Rabinovich, Justice Amnon Strashnov, Ilan Katz, Oded Pesensson, Jonathan Livny. Narrator: Ra'anan Alexandrowicz.

More Scene

  • Cal Mare

    New L.A. Restaurants, Bars and Updated Favorites for Fall 2017

    In “The Law in These Parts,” one of Israel’s most creative nonfiction filmmakers places judges and attorneys on the cinematic witness stand to explain Israel’s contorted 45-year-old military legal structure governing Palestinians in the Occupied Territories. Adopting a postmodern method quite different from that of his remarkable “The Inner Tour,” Ra’anan Alexandrowicz poses his questions […]

  • The Crown Series 2 World Premiere

    Claire Foy, Matt Smith Walk Final Carpet as Royals at 'The Crown' Season 2 Premiere in London

    In “The Law in These Parts,” one of Israel’s most creative nonfiction filmmakers places judges and attorneys on the cinematic witness stand to explain Israel’s contorted 45-year-old military legal structure governing Palestinians in the Occupied Territories. Adopting a postmodern method quite different from that of his remarkable “The Inner Tour,” Ra’anan Alexandrowicz poses his questions […]

  • Lupus Research Alliance 'Breaking Through Lupus

    Selena Gomez Chokes Up While Describing 'Life or Death Struggle' With Lupus

    In “The Law in These Parts,” one of Israel’s most creative nonfiction filmmakers places judges and attorneys on the cinematic witness stand to explain Israel’s contorted 45-year-old military legal structure governing Palestinians in the Occupied Territories. Adopting a postmodern method quite different from that of his remarkable “The Inner Tour,” Ra’anan Alexandrowicz poses his questions […]

  • "Roman J. Israel, Esq."

    'Roman J. Israel, Esq.': How Jake Gyllenhaal Helped Prepare Denzel Washington for Title Role

    In “The Law in These Parts,” one of Israel’s most creative nonfiction filmmakers places judges and attorneys on the cinematic witness stand to explain Israel’s contorted 45-year-old military legal structure governing Palestinians in the Occupied Territories. Adopting a postmodern method quite different from that of his remarkable “The Inner Tour,” Ra’anan Alexandrowicz poses his questions […]

  • AMAs Afterparty at Watt's with Niall

    Niall Horan, Chainsmokers, Rae Sremmurd Bring the AMAs After-Party to Beverly Hills

    In “The Law in These Parts,” one of Israel’s most creative nonfiction filmmakers places judges and attorneys on the cinematic witness stand to explain Israel’s contorted 45-year-old military legal structure governing Palestinians in the Occupied Territories. Adopting a postmodern method quite different from that of his remarkable “The Inner Tour,” Ra’anan Alexandrowicz poses his questions […]

  • Tig Notaro Writers Room

    Tig Notaro on Louis C.K. Scandal: Only Positive Is 'Victims Were Not Told They're Lying Anymore'

    In “The Law in These Parts,” one of Israel’s most creative nonfiction filmmakers places judges and attorneys on the cinematic witness stand to explain Israel’s contorted 45-year-old military legal structure governing Palestinians in the Occupied Territories. Adopting a postmodern method quite different from that of his remarkable “The Inner Tour,” Ra’anan Alexandrowicz poses his questions […]

  • HBO Presents-Night of Too Many Stars

    Jon Stewart, Other A-List Comics Skip Over Louis C.K. at 'Night of Too Many Stars'

    In “The Law in These Parts,” one of Israel’s most creative nonfiction filmmakers places judges and attorneys on the cinematic witness stand to explain Israel’s contorted 45-year-old military legal structure governing Palestinians in the Occupied Territories. Adopting a postmodern method quite different from that of his remarkable “The Inner Tour,” Ra’anan Alexandrowicz poses his questions […]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content