We Bought a Zoo
A widowed father played by Matt Damon moves to the South Californian country and purchases a zoo with his family
On Film4: 31 Aug 6:25PM
Rousing and impassioned DV documentary about the International Solidarity Movement and their activities in Palestine, as experienced through the eyes of British comedian Jeremy Hardy
Travelling thousands of miles to face the world's fourth biggest military power may not be most people's idea of a holiday, but then - as Jeremy Hardy sees it - neither is travelling to Florida to spend Easter with your in-laws. Hardy had established himself through his stand-up and broadcast work (including BBC2's 'If I Ruled the World' and 'Loose Talk', and Radio 4's 'News Quiz') as an outspoken and acerbic social and political commentator, and readily agreed to Palestinian producer-director Leila Sansour's proposal that he front a film about the activities of a group of international activists working in the Occupied Territories.
Arriving in Bethlehem in April 2002, just before a major Israeli incursion, Hardy is given a crash-course in the region's chaotic situation. He is shown the devastation inflicted on homes and hospitals by Israeli forces, and witnesses several instances of army heavy-handedness in the face of his group's non-violent resistance. His initial scepticism about the self-serving motives of some of his fellow volunteers is soon replaced by admiration at their bravery, and the film movingly records his own deepening commitment to the cause.
Hardy's engaging narration and the honesty of his reactions are the key to the success of Sansour's film, which convincingly demonstrates that it is still possible for individuals to effect change and make a stand against injustice. The film deserves a wide audience, and it would be a shameful waste if its open partisanship left it merely preaching to the converted.
Jack Reynor is Richard, a star athlete who has just left secondary school when a drunken encounter threatens to ruin his future. Directed by Lenny Abrahamson, What Richard Did marks Reynor as an extraordinary new talent as a young man who quickly becomes
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