Rachel Leah Jones / Philippe Bellaiche

Israel, Canada, Switzerland 2019, 108 min.


Spoken language: Arabic

Subtitles: English

74-year-old Israeli human rights lawyer Lea Tsemel has dedicated her professional life to the defence of Palestinians who resisted the Israeli occupation. Most Israeli’s would consider these defendants terrorists and she’s often called ‘the Devil’s Advocate’. For her, that’s a compliment. Portrait of a tough and passionate woman.

She calls herself an ‘angry optimistic woman’ and sees it as her responsibility to represent Palestinians who – both violently and non-violently – resist the Israeli occupation. ‘I’m an Israeli occupier no matter what I do,’ Lea Tsemel says. ‘On what moral grounds should I judge the people who resist my occupation?’

The film follows Tsemel during two recent cases involving Palestinians. One is 13-year-old Ahmad, suspected of being involved in the fatal stabbing of an Israeli teenager. The other is a woman who apparently tried to carry out a suicide bombing. Throughout we see archival footage of Tsemel’s eventful past and interviews with colleagues, her husband and her children. With innovative use of animation and split-screen to obscure some people’s identities.



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