By Mark Saldana

Rating: 3.5 (Out of 4 Stars)

Between November 14 and 21, New York City hosted the 13th annual Other Israel Film Festival which showcased various works by Jewish and Arabic filmmakers. These movies intend to offer insight on and educate about the cultures of Jewish and Arabic nations. I was given the opportunity to view and review a couple of enttries from this year’s lineup. The first is an intriguing and disturbing documentary from Israel titled Cause of Death.

Written and directed by Ramy A. Katz, who co-wrote the film with Assaf Lapid, this documentary details the tragic death of Druze police officer, Salim Barakat, while attempting to stop a terrorist from continuing his armed attack on a Tel Aviv restaurant. Though it was reported by the police that Salim heroically stopped the shooter hefore he was killed, conflicting reports from civilian eyewitnesses tell a different story. Salim’s older brother Jamal decides to investigate further in order to reveal the truth he and his family deserve.

Ramy A. Katz’s documentary is a gripping and unnerving piece that tells a very timely story when law enforcement all over the world is under much scrutiny. The film also offers a sad commentary on cultural relations and how fragile things can get when culture clash comes into play. Though Cause of Death takes place in a nation seemingly disparate from the United States, the film tells a true story quite relevant to problems in this country. It is a striking example of solid filmmaking with important social commentary.

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