Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
|Al Manar TV In the Name of the Hezbollah|
Directors: Olivier Ferraro, Elisabeth Drevillon
Genres: Indie & Art House, Documentary
Global interest in Hezbollah was heightened by the recent war between Israel and the Beirut-based organization. This documentary goes where few have gone before, exploring the group's Television operation Al-Manar, which h... more »
Falls off the high horse with a thud
Oberst Kurt Steiner | 05/28/2008
(2 out of 5 stars)
"People have attempted to compare this "collection of clips" (because it fails as a documentary) to the powerhouse, Control Room (which was a superb look at Al Jazeera and American Media during Iraq Invasion) and they are all sadly mistaken. This "video" is definitely not a documentary and more a political screed against the station itself (there is no look at the history of the station in relation to the resistance group, nor any back history about the images of the IDF presented) with every image or statement by Al-Manar employees paused on the screen and harangued by a French Media Studies prof living in Paris (Frederic Lambert) with no background/history/knowledge of the Middle East or Lebanon. Hence the directors get around the documentary dictum that they must show a view as opposed to simply saying it, by having the French Professor stand in for them, and harangue the station. Bad form and if you've seen the subtle, almost natural flow found in Control Room, absolutely horrendous.
There is also an attempt to make the employees at Al-Manar look like brainwashed no-nothings which doesn't really hold given that the station and each of its employees states that the purpose of the station is to put out media from THEIR perspective. They openly admit that it is propaganda (the neutral usage of term), so the attempts of the directors and narrators to punish/condemn their news as propaganda always falls flat and makes the directors seem like the robots.
In summation: You don't learn anything about Al-Manar's organizational structure, you don't get to see any extended clips of their reporting, you don't get to learn who funds the station, you don't learn a thing about the stations relationship/position vis a vis other stations in the region, you don't learn much about the relationship of the tv station and Hezbollah (for instance is it Hezbollah's media wing, i.e. do they control the programing or consult on it in the same way the US military does with American media? Or are they kindred spirits?), you dont even get any real interviews or histories of the stations star reporters or personalities in any meaningful way (again, the directors accuse them of being propaganda, and as I said earlier, this falls flat as an accusation as they admit as much in the mission statement of the station), you do not even get to see any juxtaposition of the station with American (or whatever the "documentary" directors feel is this supposedly "objective" standard that Al-Manar is not).
I mean the directors complained that Al-Manar listing the names of Hezbollah's dead soldiers and Palestinian civilians killed by the IDF but doesn't list the name of the 100s of Israeli civilians killed. Now that's Chutzpah, given that they have yet to list the name of any Palestinian civilian killed by the IDF on ANY western media outlets EVER. And of course, do you know who the French directors contact and speak to as an expert on the Israeli Media? The IDF Military spokesman!!!! Objectivity indeed!!! Also, do note that the few images shown of IDF abuses are not disputed (there is a rather long and painful clip where IDF soldiers are running around breaking the limbs of Palestinian boys, using rocks for leverage) but the fact that the images have Al-Manar commentary with them! Wow....just like the Abu Ghraib scandal, the issue isnt the torturing/murder/rape of persons, but the fact that some media body chose to show the abuse....depressing indeed....
The film gets two stars because the pickings are slim regarding information on Al-Manar, especially considering that it is illegal to carry the channel in the US.
In response to the rather disingenuous and simplistic review by this Crabtree person, the statement, as he attempts to portray it is false. The director attempted to state that the stations splicing of Hitler's speeches with those of a Knesset member shouting about destroying Lebanon and stating that Arabs would learn "blood for blood, soul for soul" was Anti-Semitic and somehow revisionist and made light of the Holocaust. The Al-Manar editor stated that IF the whole world agrees that what the Nazi's did to the Jews was bad (whatever the agreed upon numbers -which the director said was exaggerated- Arabic word used also means "abused") then what the "Zionist are doing to Palestine" is also very bad. Straight fwd, and whether you agree with it or not, at least have the integrity to report what he said before sound-biting him to prove a point."
A look at the other side
Brendan M. Howard | Kansas, USA | 10/09/2006
(4 out of 5 stars)
"This dubbed originally French documentary about the "news" arm of Hezbollah is fascinating viewing. The producers give Al Manar's journalists, proponents and a few opponents the chance to share their opinions about the work of the news agency. The professionals aren't insane zealots, but partisan journalists who are trying to put deliberate spin on an organization they feel is fighting for freedom, not terrorism. This is the first in-depth look I've seen of Al Manar. Given the recent war between Israel and Hezbollah in south Lebanon, this documentary couldn't be more timely. Everyone should take an hour out of their day and see how the other side spins the news."
Interesting but flat
CJR | Washington, DC | 01/20/2007
(2 out of 5 stars)
"This movie is extremely interesting for the fact that it shows the agenda of a news channel, and it makes you think of what kind of agenda is behind our news broadcasting. However the documentary itself is extremely flat. It does not explore its potential, and simply reports the situation. After a while it gets very repetitive."