Movie Review by Alice Castle
Directors: Andrew Quigley, Steven Silver
A day doesn’t pass without at least one headline announcing bombings, shootings or some other horror in the West Bank or Gaza. How desensitized we’ve become to it. How many of us stop to listen or watch the item in detail. How many of us read beyond the first depressing paragraph in the news story. DIAMETER OF THE BOMB attempts to make us stop and look at just one of these awful events in detail – to see how every violent incident has knock-on effects much greater than the horror of the bomb blast itself.
DIAMETER OF THE BOMB’ was the name of a poem written by Israeli Yehuda Amichai in 1972 about the physical effect of a single bomb. In this documentary, directors Steven Silver and Andrew Quigley focus their attention on the affects of a bus bombing in June 2002. It tries to focus on just one of these events to show how events in Israel/Palestine are human tragedies which affect people just like you and me. On 18 June 2002 a suicide bomber, Ayman, walked onto a bus in Jerusalem and blew up 20 people. He wasn’t poor, he wasn’t especially devout and he had a loving family.
We learn about some of the people who died in the bombing – Rami the driver, Shani a newlywed through interviews with their relatives and photos of them. We learn about Zaka, unpaid Orthodox Jews who rush to the scene of a bombing to soak up the blood in order that all parts of the body can be buried as one. We hear from one of the doctors trying to make sense of the events and piecing together evidence from after the bombing. We even hear from Ayman’s family. But what we really want to know though is why Ayman did it, what would have pushed him into this act. Perhaps a documentary can’t tell us this – but it might have tried harder to put the event in context – and with a loud and distracting soundtrack the power of the interviews was sometimes lost altogether.