My Terrorist

An interesting personal perspective on terrorism, Yulie Gerstel's short feature "My Terrorist" chronicles her advocacy for the jailed gunman who wounded her 25 years ago. Sometimes first-person to a borderline-indulgent fault, docu still offers potent spur for discussion on the blurry line between such as "terrorist" vs. "freedom fighter."

An interesting personal perspective on terrorism — albeit one out of step with the generally hawkish mood these days — Yulie Gerstel’s short feature “My Terrorist” chronicles her advocacy for the jailed gunman who wounded her 25 years ago. Sometimes first-person to a borderline-indulgent fault, docu still offers potent spur for discussion on the blurry line between forgiveness and tolerance toward terrorism, as well as terms such as “terrorist” vs. “freedom fighter.”

Born to a family that traces roots back six generations on land now considered Israeli, Gerstel was a young El Al flight attendant when two members of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine attacked airline staff in London. She was just grazed, but another stewardess was killed. Now mother of two and assistant to human rights photographers in occupied territories, she thinks repentant Fahad Mibyi, her Iraqi onetime assailant, has served enough time. She visits (but isn’t permitted to film) him in England; she petitions his parole board. Is she “breaking the vicious cycle” of recrimination, or merely “encouraging terrorism,” as some angry fellow Israelis say? Public and personal ambivalence are well etched in fast-paced, English-narrated package.

My Terrorist

Israel

Production: A Women Make Movies and First Hand Films presentation of a Cohen Gerstel production, in association with Channel R, BBC, ZDF/ARTE, YLE TV2 and TV2. Produced by Yulie Gerstel. Executive producer, Esther van Messel. Directed by Yulie Gerstel.

Crew: Camera (color, video), Oded Kirma; Moshe Gerstel, Yulie Gerstel; editor, Boaz Lion; Tal Segev. Reviewed at San Francisco Film Festival, April 27, 2003. Running time: 58 MIN.

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