Death in the Terminal, Directors – Asaf Sudry and Tali Shemesh

This film I saw late in the week but it is a remarkable and unusual documentary. The directors tell the story of a terrorist attack at a bus terminal in Be’er Sheva, Israel in 2015. The unique aspect of the film is the use of film from the surveillance cameras in the terminal which documented the actions of security guards, police and civilians caught up in the attack. Most the film is made from this surveillance footage although there are some short interviews with some of the participants and survivors. The incident itself resulted in several injuries and three deaths, including an Israeli soldier, the terrorist and one innocent victim. The latter is very much the focus of the film. The surveillance cameras document a single victim who is shot several times by a security officer and left bleeding to death on the floor. He is kicked and abused by several civilians who also assume he is one of the terrorists. It turns out he is an Ethiopian immigrant completely innocent of anything. The assumption of the security guard leads to his death and abuse. The film is difficult to watch and for much of it you assume the victim we see is a terrorist. It is only near the end that the truth emerges. The film illustrates what the fear of terrorism can do to otherwise civilized people. It also is an open critique of the inability of the Israeli security forces to cope or respond appropriately to terrorist attacks. The security guard who killed the innocent man was never charged although several of the citizens who assaulted him after the attack have been criminally charged.

One of the most amazing parts of the film is at the end. The tape of the main surveillance camera is rewound and the whole event unfolds in reverse. Stunning.