Saturday, October 6, 2012

Death Tolls: "No Safe Place: Six Lives Forever Changed" (2003)



This too-brief documentary looks at the lives of six people changed by terrorism in Israel. Nicely and unobtrusively narrated by Kelsey Grammer, we see the people behind the news channel tickers that roll across the bottoms of our television screens.

Pnina Aizenman was not only injured when terrorists attacked a group of Israelis on the street, her mother and five year old daughter were killed. She grieves to the point of obsession, and her little girl's belongings still litter the home she shares with her husband and surviving child. Netanel Hamamy's father was killed in a hotel attack during Passover while Netanel was there. He is just a child, waking up at night to vomit for no medical reason, and now does not act appropriately at school. His mother does not allow television or radio news in the house, fearing Netanel might hear of more attacks. The entire family is seeing a therapist.

Michal Ganon had both of her legs blown off, and her best friend was killed in the attack she survived. She was suicidal from the constant pain, and while she is learning to use prosthetic legs, Michal's mother is close to hysterical about the attack and the constant pain her daughter is in. Rony Plaut did not survive an attack per se. He is a bus driver, and after giving up his route to another driver, watched as that bus was bombed and the driver killed. Plaut still drives the same bus route, and his family is in constant fear for his life, despite the security measures initiated.

Ilana Silvan's story is a miracle. The bomb that exploded in her bus was right at her feet, and she now has burns over half of her body. She has been in rehabilitation for over a year at the time this documentary was made, and just wants a normal life again. Oded Zinger was in the Israeli Defense Force when his father was on his way to pick him up. Oded's father's car was ambushed, but his dad made a frantic phone call to his nearby son before being shot at point blank range. Oded refuses to talk about the attack to his siblings or mother.

According to the documentary, between September 2000 and January 2003, almost six hundred people died from terrorist attacks in Israel, with almost 3500 injuries. Almost a hundred children died, as well. The film alternates between interviews with the survivors, news footage of the confusion following the attacks, and video and photographs of the victims, all to very good effect. Every story is heartbreaking, even the bus driver's paranoia about going to work.

Shanit's direction is good, and the editing of the film is excellent. I do wish more time had been given to each subject. This only runs fifty minutes, and I wanted to know more about each and every survivor, as well as the victims who were taken from them.

"No Safe Place: Six Lives Forever Changed" puts a human face on terrorism. More films like this should be made and shown to a public that becomes increasingly numbed by the subject matter. (* * * *) out of five stars. Get this movie now!: No Safe Place: Six Lives Forever Changed