Documentary shorts on worthy struggles
Screening the five 2011 Oscar nominees for best documentary short one after the other may have an unintended consequence: compassion fatigue.
These are all worthy films about worthy struggles, and this probably isn’t the best way to see them.
The quintet of 40-minute films, unspooling in two programs at the Coolidge starting today, tackles hard real-world issues and calls attention to desperate situations and individuals, and while your heart may be wrenched and your outrage stirred, they’re also spread thin.
That said, Program A has the three strongest works. Jed Rothstein’s “Killing in the Name” focuses on Muslims who are speaking up against international terrorism, specifically Jordan’s Ashraf al-Khaled, who, after losing 27 relatives when his wedding reception was bombed in 2005, has become a globe-trotting force for truth. If the non-discussion between him and an Al Qaeda recruiter (who won’t meet with al-Khaled in person) is a frustrating display of fanatic’s logic, an encounter at an Indonesian madrassa offers some hope.