Screening Rights

The Palestinian problem, as it’s called in some circles, is also an Israeli problem, of course. Countless American Jews on the left have proclaimed for decades that the situation in the Occupied Territories is a travesty of freedom, justice, and equality. The touring Human Rights and Film series wraps this week with two documentaries whose high-profile principals are identified with high moral principles. Susan Sontag shot Promised Lands during and after the confidence-shattering Yom Kippur War of 1973, capturing the fissures and growing clamor in Israeli society over Palestinian self-rule. This exceedingly rare screening of the late, great New York essayist and philosopher’s only nonfiction film, 36 years after its release, is a certified event. On the other end of the spectrum, David Ridgen and Nicolas Rossier’s 2009 portrait, American Radical: The Trials of Norman Finkelstein, delivers a high-octane dose of the most controversial man in America. A flamboyantly outspoken critic of Israel’s treatment of the Palestinians (and America’s coddling of Israel), Finkelstein consciously and willfully pushes the Jewish establishment’s buttons. (The Chicago professor was famously denied tenure at DePaul University, thanks in part to an infamous campaign championed by Alan Dershowitz.) Whether your Mideast preferences run toward deep thoughts or grenades force-fed to sacred cows, you’re covered this week.

Promised Lands starts at 7:30 p.m.; American Radical screens Saturday at 2 p.m.
Thu., March 25, 2010

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