The Reconstruction

Avi Mograbi
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In The Reconstruction, Avi Mograbi’s debut feature film, he follows five different versions of the reconstruction of Israeli teen, Danny Katz’s grisly murder in 1984. Here, one arguably finds the primary seed of what will later evolve into a fully-formed cinematic language in his future films, and a discussion about the very concept of ‘truth’. Both evil and senseless foolishness are depicted in the five different accounts of the murder that a group of workmen who had been in the area where Katz’s body was found, who may not have even been involved in the crime, and who had just been arrested, are now being made to reconstruct. Detectives appear to have little to no regard for the truth or reasonable doubt as they ask them, over and over again, to repeat everything they had done to the murdered boy, and unflinchingly accept any version of events that includes a confession.
Years later, director Ken Burns would make the documentary, The Central Park Five (2012) about five African American young men who are arrested in New York’s Central Park area where the body of a white woman who had been raped and murdered was just found. Two decades later, the five men were cleared of all charges. Both films echo the virtually boundaryless evil and racism that permeate, but what is even more painstakingly obvious is the glaringly small part that truth plays in the search for the real killer. The immediate suspects have been apprehended and must pay a hefty price. The punishment is of course collective, for every Palestinian in the vicinity is instantly rendered a suspect – and as hundreds of detainees over the years who were denied their right to a fair trial will attest, there is virtually no other way of proving anything to the contrary.

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