Arce & Rujailah: To Shoot an Elephant

“(…) Afterwards, of course, there were endless discussions about the shooting of the elephant. The owner was furious, but he was only an Indian and could do nothing. Besides, legally I had done the right thing, for a mad elephant has to be killed, like a mad dog, if it’s owner fails to control it”. George Orwell wrote this and his way of witnessing Asia still remains valid. “To shoot an elephant” is an eye witness account from The Gaza Strip. December 27th, 2008, Operation Cast Lead. 21 days shooting elephants. Urgent, insomniac, dirty, shuddering images from the only foreigners who decided and managed to stay embedded inside Gaza strip ambulances, with Palestinian civilians.

… this is a text clip from the site of the production company that stands behind one of the most shocking documentaries I have seen in the last years. A film that had a physical impact on me through several sequences where the filmmakers and the ambulance drivers and the human rights activists were more than close to the bombing atrocities performed by the Israelis during the Gaza war. The value of the film, however, is not “only” the documentation that it gives, which would have been enough (!), it also demonstrates a cinematic quality in the editing/chaptering of the material. Far from the reportage the film includes small touching scenes with ambulance drivers, and scenes where children ask the cameraman – why do you film… without losing the ambition of the film, that simply is to show the world what happened. To let the images speak for themselves. It does so in 113 minutes of scary tension with unbearable scenes of children, who got killed while playing, and a scene where two ambulance people want to pick up a corpse in the middle of a street and are being shot at. Why? Anger and despair, and death to the Jews and their nation, are the words coming from the loudspeakers at the prayers… today, Friday March 19, 2010, one year after, Israelis are bombing the Gaza strip again. 

The film can be viewed on this site:

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Tue Steen Müller
Tue Steen Müller

Müller, Tue Steen
Documentary Consultant and Critic, DENMARK

Worked with documentary films for more than 20 years at the Danish Film Board, as press officer, festival representative and film consultant/commissioner. Co-founder of Balticum Film and TV Festival, Filmkontakt Nord, Documentary of the EU and EDN (European Documentary Network).
Awards: 2004 the Danish Roos Prize for his contribution to the Danish and European documentary culture. 2006 an award for promoting Portuguese documentaries. 2014 he received the EDN Award “for an outstanding contribution to the development of the European documentary culture”. 2016 The Cross of the Knight of the Order for Merits to Lithuania. 2019 a Big Stamp at the 15th edition of ZagrebDox. 2021 receipt of the highest state decoration, Order of the Three Stars, Fourth Class, for the significant contribution to the development and promotion of Latvian documentary cinema outside Latvia. In 2022 he received an honorary award at DocsBarcelona’s 25th edition having served as organizer and programmer since the start of the festival.
From 1996 until 2005 he was the first director of EDN (European Documentary Network). From 2006 a freelance consultant and teacher in workshops like Ex Oriente, DocsBarcelona, Archidoc, Documentary Campus, Storydoc, Baltic Sea Forum, Black Sea DocStories, Caucadoc, CinéDOC Tbilisi, Docudays Kiev, Dealing With the Past Sarajevo FF as well as programme consultant for the festivals Magnificent7 in Belgrade, DOCSBarcelona, Verzio Budapest, Message2Man in St. Petersburg and DOKLeipzig. Teaches at the Zelig Documentary School in Bolzano Italy.

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