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Four modern stories of remarkable courage while setting out to uncover the forgotten life of Raphael Lemkin, the man who coined the term 'genocide'. Inspired by Samantha Power's Pulitzer Prize-winning book, 'A Problem From Hell', 'Watchers of the Sky' traverses time and continents to explore genocide and the cycle of violence. Written by
Man's inhumanity towards man and how we fight to rectify those wrongs
The goal of WATCHERS OF THE SKY is partially a history lesson, but also to shed light on a very current problem in the international community. That problem is just how difficult it is to prosecute genocide as a crime when there are so many nations with vested interests in different things that it often keeps them from agreeing on even simple things. The film also works at a visceral gut level as we are treated to actual footage from a few of the countries where genocides have taken place, like Serbia, Rwanda and Sudan. Whenever I watch films like this, people's testimony of how horrific acts were perpetrated on them and their families just makes me really emotional, and seeing footage of the perpetrators inciting people to violence turns my stomach and makes me angry. I'm pretty certain that this film will do that for a lot of people. On a technical level, I thought the documentary did a good job of moving between the different narrative threads it wanted to get across although, outside of the common theme, they didn't do the best job tying all of them together. There was also a lot of animation with on screen text from Raphael Lemkin's (who coined the word 'genocide') diary/writings. It's not that I don't like reading, but when I'm watching a movie, even if it is a documentary, if they have that much reading they might as well have gotten a voice-over actor to do those parts. Of course, they did have some archival footage of Lemkin, but not nearly as much as they had for the other segments. Overall, it must be said that isn't some feel-good, easy watch. Genocide and mass murder are two very heavy subjects, but this film deals with them in a very mature way: laying all of the facts bare while not wallowing in misery. Ultimately, there is the hope that the global community will get this right eventually, and indeed progress has been made. If you care any small bit about humanity and how we treat one another, I highly recommend that you check this out.
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