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Death in Gaza (2006)

Saira Shah  |  NR |  DVD
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)

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Product Details

  • Actors: Saira Shah
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Closed-captioned, Color, NTSC, Widescreen
  • Language: English (Unknown), Spanish (Unknown)
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: HBO Studios
  • DVD Release Date: September 2, 2008
  • Run Time: 80 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000BBOU90
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #50,943 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Death in Gaza" on IMDb

Special Features

  • Remembering James
  • James Miller Tribute compilation
  • The Making of Death in Gaza featurette

Editorial Reviews

This poignant and powerful documentary takes a shocking, first-hand look at the culture of hate that permeates the West Bank and Gaza, and which continues to escalate the perennial violence pitting Palestinians against Israelis. Starting out in the city of Nablus (where as many as 80 percent of suicide bombing plots are planned), James Miller and Saira Shah ended up in the Gaza town of Rafah, one of the most dangerous cities in this volatile region. There they spent several weeks focusing on the activities of three Palestinian children - two 12-year-old boys and a 16-year-old girl - who have grown up surrounded by messages of hate against Israel (whose military presence in their town is a constant), and taught that the greatest glory is to die a martyr. The film ends on a day like many other days in Rafah, with death - except that on this day, the fallen victim happens to be the man making this film.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
33 of 39 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "Martyrdom makes many promises ..." December 9, 2005
British filmmaker James Miller traveled to Palestine in 2003 to make a documentary about the affect of violence on the lives of Palestinian children. He also planned to make a companion film about Israeli children. Tragically, Miller was shot and killed by Israeli forces in Rafah while making his documentary. Consequently, the film's focus was diverted from its initial purpose. What remains is a film that is partially a tribute to the bravery and commitment of Miller, and partially a story about the poisoned lives of children growing up in Palestine.

The camera captures the atmosphere of the streets. Walls are covered with posters of militants and those killed in the conflict. When the sun sets, there's an unearthly scene as the street vendors disappear and then "paramilitaries come out at night using the dead to recruit more militants." Of course, those recruited are usually young males--some still in childhood. In one horrific scene, Saira Shah--also the film's narrator--is brave enough to interview some hooded Palestinian paramilitaries who are grooming Ahmed, a young boy to join their ranks. The paramilitaries play games with the boy and the games slide into teaching him how to hold a rocket grenade launcher. When Shah asks if it is moral to recruit young children to be terrorists, the hooded paramilitary member strokes the boy's head and chillingly responds, "don't worry about responsibility, sister, we're men, when we say goodbye to Ahmed, there are 1000s more like him."

The film shows quite clearly that children on the streets of Palestine are well aware of imminent death and that their lives are irrevocably altered by their day-to-day existence--it is common for children to write letters to their families in case they are killed.
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16 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The making of martyrs . . . October 9, 2006
This film about life among young Palestinians packs the usual punch of HBO documentaries. Celebrated British filmmakers Miller and Shah get as close to the skirmishes directed against Israeli troops as possible, capturing footage that refuses to turn away from the human cost of this particular kind of urban warfare. It is high-risk filmmaking, and we know from the start that Miller is killed by Israeli gunfire before the shooting of the film is completed.

Viewers not familiar with the Palestinian resistance will be shocked by the impact that fear and hatred of the Israelis has made upon the youngest generation - the boys flinging rocks at Israeli tanks, who have come under the influence of masked, gun-wielding insurgents. We meet two young boys, close friends, who manufacture explosives, and an older girl who has lost several members of her family and weeps at yet another funeral. The romance of martyrdom overwhelms their youthful world as a welcomed though not fully understood prospect.

There is little resolution to the powerlessness the viewer can feel watching this film, and those sympathetic with the Israeli side of the equation will find it represented by distant, menacing armed figures in military uniforms or moving through the streets in tanks - objects to be feared, scorned, and hated. And as the film represents this ongoing struggle, there seems to be no end in sight. Worth seeing as a look behind the daily news from that part of the troubled world.
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13 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Death in Gaza March 9, 2006
This documentary is both extremely sad and extremely powerful. I first saw Death in Gaza when it originally aired on HBO a couple years ago. Since then, I've periodically searched for it to no avail. When I found out would be carrying it, I immediately purchased it. This is a must-see for anyone interested in Middle East politics or the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. It is both heart-breaking and disturbing to see what reality is for so many. One of the most moving scenes for me is the funerals for the martyrs. Some are crying, some are chanting militant anthems, and a man on a megaphone incites the people to Jihad. "We must continue the struggle until victory or martyrdom" he urges, his voice reverberating while an eerie soundtrack plays in the background. Seeing the impact on the children is also difficult to watch. This is a reality that should be seen by all.
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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Ultimate Sacrifice May 8, 2006
I found this documentary to be very emotional for me. James Miller went to great lengths to try to give us an accurate picture of the Palestinian side of the conflict from the views of three kids. It's about time someone tried to do this. Unfortunately, he paid the ultimate price for his venture. But it leaves me to wonder if this story would have had the impact that it has had if he didn't die. I highly recommend this DVD to anyone who is interested into finding out "both sides of a story" and who values those journalists who risk their lives to bring those stories to us.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars See this film! January 9, 2009
By CzL3
When I first saw this film on HBO, I tuned in about halfway through it. I was completely unaware that James Miller was killed during production and, for me, his death was all the more shocking as it was sudden.
For the longest time I thought this might have been fictitious, but it just goes to show you: you can't write this stuff.
This is as real as it gets short of being there yourself.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars A propaganda film.
A friend recommended it. He liked it but I understood this because he was a palestinian and it was a documentary that supported his cause. Read more
Published 8 months ago by john
5.0 out of 5 stars Disturbing
This is not an easy film to watch...halfway through it leaves you wondering if there is any hope for peace in this conflict. Read more
Published 14 months ago by Tami
5.0 out of 5 stars pour s'informer encore et encore
le tragique de la situation à Gaza comme dans toute la Palestine ... ce que nous en dit la télévision ou la presse même s'il y a de nombreuses émissions... Read more
Published 20 months ago by Denise
2.0 out of 5 stars [Two-and-a-half stars out of four] Should be better, but undone...
by Zionist Propaganda...What did we expect from
James Miller. All arabs are terrorists and all
Israelis are angels is pretty much what is exem-
plified here! Read more
Published on August 6, 2012 by Rich The Reviewer
5.0 out of 5 stars Gaza review
Death in Gaza was an extraordinary documentary on the war and violence along the Gaza strip. As a consumer, it was shipped to me in a timely manner took only 4 days, and I was... Read more
Published on May 6, 2011 by Sade
5.0 out of 5 stars My review of the most striking moments/images in the film
Context: The film and thus these comments are a snapshot of the situation "on the ground" in the West Bank and Gaza in 2003. Read more
Published on November 25, 2008 by Jonathan Shailor
5.0 out of 5 stars Disturbing

* All the scenes in schools involve teaching kids to hate Jews. (Funny, I've been through years of Jewish education and spent lots of time in Israeli schools, and... Read more
Published on May 31, 2007 by E. Goldberg
4.0 out of 5 stars fair
There were some scenes in here I was glad I saw. Nothing was quite so powerful was watching boys throwing stones at tanks and seeing tanks fire back. Stones versus tanks. Read more
Published on April 9, 2007 by B. W.
5.0 out of 5 stars A MUST SEE
I will not even attempt to convey how powerfull this movie is in words as that is not even close to possible. The most powerfull film I have ever seen period. Read more
Published on April 6, 2006 by Kevin G. Cunningham
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