IMPACT OF TERROR directed by Tim Wolochatiuk, produced by Ric Bienstock and Felix Golubev, executive producer Simcha Jacobovici, screening Monday (May 3), 5:30 pm at the Bloor Cinema as part of the Toronto Jewish Film Festival. 52 minutes. For complete TJFF listings, see Indie And Rep Cinemas, page 101.
When asked which filmmakers have inspired him, documentary maker Simcha Jacobovici is clear. He prefers Errol Morris's provocative entertainment to the "essayist, club-you-over-the-head" work of Michael Moore. Morris would no doubt approve of Jacobovici's latest film, Impact Of Terror, a penetrating study of the 2001 Sbarro Pizzeria suicide bombing in Israel, filmed from the perspective of its victims.
The strength of the movie is that it forgoes analyses and finger-pointing.
Explains Jacobovici, "We wanted to make a film that would speak universally. If you turn on CNN, all you hear is so many dead, so many wounded. But what does it mean to be wounded?
"Can you say that a young boy who cleans his room compulsively and shies away from life isn't wounded?"
The horror of the subject was matched by the resilience of director Tim Wolochatiuk and his crew.
"We had to shoot a scene where a father rides a bus. The day Tim shot that scene, a bus nearby was bombed. The café where we shot the closing montage was bombed just after Tim and his crew got home. Shooting this is like sending someone to a war field in Iraq."
Jacobovici sighs, adding, "Imagine. Going for a pizza or taking a bus is a life-and-death decision now."
In Hebrew, the word Simcha means a happy occasion, an ironic name choice for Jacobovici, who's made his living documenting so many of life's tragedies: illegal sex trading, the Ebola virus, the intifada, to name just a few.
He shot his first movie, Falasha: Exile Of The Black Jews, after picking up a book from the library entitled How To Make A Documentary Film, before he'd even learned what a treatment was.
Though his skills may have started out at a low level, the standards of his films have stayed consistently high, as films such as The Struma, Deadly Currents and Hollywoodism: Jews, Movies And The American Dream attest.
"We make films that are investigative and hard-hitting but not exploitative."
With such a powerful message to communicate, the makers of Impact Of Terror are looking forward to screening the film at the Toronto Jewish Film Festival. There will also be a television broadcast June 16 on CBC's Witness.
"People worry about the reality craze distorting the craft, but I know quality will out. I used to have to pitch a movie. Now they come to me."
Impact of Terror (Tim Wolochatiuk) Rating: NNNN
This film was produced by Deadly Currents scribe Simcha Jacobovici and directed by Tim Wolochatiuk, one of the school of brave, honest filmmakers operating within Associated Producers, and it shows.
Instead of bogging viewers down with a right-vs-wrong argument, Wolochatiuk focuses on humanity, interviewing the mothers, fathers, sisters and friends polarized by the Sbarro Pizzeria suicide bombing in Jerusalem in 2001.
One of the most powerful moments comes without words, when Montreal ambulance volunteer Orly first glimpses Miriam, the near-dead teen she helped rescue, startled by the beautiful, vibrant girl she now beholds. Not one scene feels forced or made for shock value. With a subject like this, that's impact indeed. Monday (May 3), 5:30 pm, at the Bloor.