Justin Webster: The Madrid Connection

March 11 2004, the bombings in Madrid. 191 people died, more than 2000 were wounded, when trains were exploded in the early morning. Two young males stood behind the crime, Jamal and Sarhane, a criminal and an islamic extremist, both from North Africa.

Why did it come to this, is the question that Justin Webster raises in this fine, yet predictable in storytelling piece of journalistic documentary. Who were they, how did they get into terrorism, and how was the crime organised? What happened?

Interviews, blurred images of reconstructions of actions of the two involved, effectful sound design, anonymous persons witnessing, shots from the trial, where judges go after others, who are involved – the main criminals Jamal and Sarhane committed suicide, when they were about to be caught, but after they had published videos justifying the jihad.

It brings the viewer a well a professionally done character focused narrative that is carried by a wish to understand or at least explain but never justify. A one layered documentary, could it have been more?

Spain, UK, Denmark, 2007, 94 mins.


Share your love
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.

Articles: 3876