30 April 2021.
THE DISSIDENT ****
Once in awhile a film comes along that shakes one to the core. This documentary about the highly publicized 2018 murder of the Washington Post journalist, Jamal Khashoggi, is such a one. It is both a tribute to a courageous man and a window into the outrageous use of power.
Made by Bryan Fogel, the Oscar-winning director of ICARUS (on sports doping at the Olympics), the film shows that Khashoggi, who was born in Saudi Arabia, was close to the inner circle of Saudi power. But buoyed by the Arab spring in 2011 and disillusioned with what he saw as a betrayal of the people by the almighty royal circle, he had to finally leave his country, family and friends to be able to live and report freely from Turkey and Washington D.C. As he became bolder in his criticisms of the royal court, and especially the young, manipulative Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, Khashoggi became a potential target.
When he went to the Saudi consulate in Istanbul for documents necessary for his upcoming marriage to the Turkish journalist, Hatice Cengiz, elaborate plans for his death were set in motion. The next time he entered the consulate to pick up the documents, he never came out.
As in a meticulous, tragic thriller, Fogel follows the timeline of events with the help of Khashoggi’s fiancée, Cengiz, and Omar Abdulaziz, a vocal young dissident in Canada, who were working tirelessly to bring the obviously guilty to some sort of justice. But like the ruthless machinations of other dictators, the powerful get away with all sorts of crimes.
Khashoggi’s life and character come through in various interviews with his colleagues from Aljazeera, the Washington Post and Khashoggi himself, along with testimonies from the responsible Turkish authorities, including President Erdogan. The reactions of Trump are in line with his character, but multi-billionaire Jeff Bezos, who actually owns the Washington Post, will impress you with his attitude. Quite an eye-opener.
This is a chilling, but also moving and important documentary that bears witness to the merciless acts that go unpunished when money and geopolitics are involved. The arrogant injustice of it will have you reeling, but then it has been like this throughout history. This is an outstanding document – run to it before it’s gone!
(Showing at the Cine17 – check times on cineman.ch)
Superb **** Very Good *** Good ** Mediocre * Miserable – no stars
Neptune Ravar Ingwersen reviews film extensively for publications in Switzerland. She views 4 to 8 films a week and her aim is to sort the wheat from the chaff for readers.