Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Film: USA v al-Arian

Just purchased the DVD of USA vs. Al-Arian from DaWorks. I've also got a copy of Shackled Dreams and Conspiring against Joseph. In sha Allah, reviews coming soon.

I wrote the above September 9, 2008. I just watched the film today, November 5, 2008.

I'm not sure how to react to the film. It's well done and well-edited as a documentary. There is a quality animation effect used to portray important courtroom scenes. All of the elements of the case through October 2006 are included, including the despicable sentence of Judge James Moody of Professor Sami to 57-months in jail (minus time served) despite a prosecution recommendation that Professor Sami be released based on time served. There are extensive sound bytes from the federal prosecutor, Walter E. Furr, whom I also come to dislike intensely by the end of the documentary.

I think the documentary gives too much time to Furr and not enough time to explaining why the plea bargain to which Professor Sami agreed was the result of extreme government coercion and deception. What's the point of asking a federal prosecutor if justice was done? In any prosecutor's opinion, the harsher the sentence, the more just the outcome.

Having said this, the film does do a good job of portraying Professor Sami's family as normal people and the tremendous pain the government inflicted on them. And perhaps the film needs to be low-key in order to take the message to those who have not followed the case closely.

In any event, the film's new North American distributor is Kudos Family. When I called, Ms. Klara Grunning-Harris of Kudos Family informed me that they hoped it would be available in NTSC format before the Christmas holidays, 2008. If you can play it in PAL, it is still available from DaWorks.

I've not yet watched the special features. In sha Allah, an update when I finish that. Remember, visit http://www.freesamialarian.com to get the latest information on the case and to help him out.

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