The Heart of Jenin (2009)

Genres - Culture & Society  |   Countries - Germany   |   MPAA Rating - NR
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Synopsis by Mark Deming

Twelve-year-old Ahmed Khatib came from a Palestinian family and in 2005 he was living with his father in a refugee camp on the West Bank when a soldier saw him playing with a toy gun. The soldier mistook the toy for a real weapon, and he fired on Ahmed, killing the boy. Ahmed's father, Ismael Khatib, had spent years living under Israeli occupation and served time in prison for fighting on behalf of the Palestinian cause, only to see his young son die at the hand of Israeli forces. But when Ismael was asked if Ahmed's organs could be used in transplants to save the lives of Israeli children, his compassion outweighed his anger and he said yes. Filmmakers Leon Geller and Marcus Vetter examine this extraordinary true story in Das Herz von Jenin (aka The Heart of Jenin), a documentary which features interviews with Ismael Khatib and three of the children whose lives were saved by the donation of Ahmed's heart and kidneys; the film shows how Ismael has struggled to move away from hate, while the circumstances which fueled his anger have scarcely changed. The Heart of Jenin was an official entry at the 2008 Toronto International Film Festival.