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"The Law in These Parts": Democratically Sanctioned Oppression 

Wednesday, Jan 16 2013

Dialectical and precise to the point of exhaustion, The Law in These Parts applies a cold anger to one of the geopolitical world's most passionate discords. Israeli director Ra'anan Alexandrowicz (The Inner Tour) seeks to expose the injustice that defines the Palestinian occupation through a careful examination of the ad hoc legal framework erected for the West Bank and Gaza Strip by the Israeli legal elite in 1967. If that sounds tricky, it's because it is. A bureaucratic procedural with a unique approach, Law tells a story about systemized language, how ideological clashes are reduced to legal distinctions and human beings to enemy combatants. A number of the Israeli judges and prosecutors who drafted and applied the laws for the occupied territories are interviewed as footage from the time and cases in question surrounds them, projected onto an enveloping green screen backdrop. The effect is used sparingly, which is good; Alexandrowicz's self-conscious and unnecessary interjections about the nature of documentary are distraction enough. Some of his subjects show hesitation about the temporary system they created and its legacy of democratically sanctioned oppression. Most, however, cling to the veneers and contingencies that permit even good people to separate what is just from what is right.

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Michelle Orange

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