Synopsis by Josh Ralske
In June 2002, a bus traveling from Tiberius to Tel Aviv was bombed; seventeen people were killed in the bombing, but only 16 were identified. When no one claimed the 17th victim, police decided that the man was a foreign worker. Israeli filmmaker David Ofek, along with co-director and cinematographer Ron Rotem, began videotaping his own investigation into the identity of the man. Other bombings occur with regularity, and it seems clear that if Ofek didn't pursue the story, no one would. As Ofek goes about interviewing survivors, including the bus driver and police officers, he begins to get an idea of who the man might have been. Perhaps more importantly, No. 17 gives the audience an inkling of what it's like to live in a society where violence is so pervasive that it becomes a part of the fabric of everyone's lives. Eventually, Ofek hires an eccentric sketch artist who interviews people who remember the anonymous man about their recollections. The image he draws forth is shown on television and in the papers, and Ofek begins to close in on the identity of No. 17. This documentary was shown at the 2004 New Directors/New Films series in New York.
bus, clue, identification, investigation, Israel, mystery [enigma], passenger, sketch, suicide-bombing, unknown