Tears of Gaza Film Review

This film is about the bombing of Gaza in 2008/9 by the Israeli military, shown only from the Palestinian perspective and which the filmmaker claims is an anti-war offering. Unfortunately, however, every frame is so blatantly skewed that it plays more like an exercise in anti-Israel propaganda than a sincere attempt to advocate an end to war.

The Gaza War was a three week conflict that took place in winter-time in the Gaza Strip. This film shows no combatants, only children and parents, who still live in the hellish conditions of this devastated region. The suffering of these people is ongoing, and the attacks that took place have left both physical and psychological scars. The film uses footage captured by Palestinian photographers during the war itself, including the aftermath, and depicts repercussions that know no end.

Lack of Narration

For reasons that are never given, there is no narrator to guide us through the chilling events that unfold on the screen. This does not add to the impact of the visuals, but instead creates a gap that gives the film an unfocused feel. Amongst the many gruesome sights that silently appear, are some harrowing images of dead toddlers with single bullet holes in their tiny bodies. It’s quite impossible to believe that any soldier from anywhere in the world would actually walk up to a 2-year-old and shoot them at point blank range.

How The War Started

This war actually started when Hamas indiscriminately launched rockets into Israel, and Israel made their counter attack. Israeli targets included weapon caches in densely populated cities of the Gaza strip, and Hamas targets included rocket and mortar attacks on civilian targets in southern Israel. In September 2009, a U.N. Mission accused both Palestinian militants and Israeli Defense Forces of war crimes against humanity, and recommended bringing those responsible to justice. This never happened, and the suffering of the victims in both countries has never been acknowledged by anyone other than themselves.

tears of gaza
Extinguishing fires in Gaza

There can never be enough anti-war films, and it’s a pity the filmmaker, Vibeke Lokkeberg, chose to so handicap hers that it cannot be added to the meager pile. The heartbroken Palestinians who told Lokkeberg their devastating tales, deserve more than to end up in what is essentially an extended news bulletin. This bulletin also broadcasts the hatred that is growing within Palestine’s young, which is depressing to watch and sullies the hope that, some day, the lion will lay down with the lamb.


Canada – September 2010 (Toronto Film Festival)

Greece – March 2011 (Thessaloniki Documentary Festival)

Hong Kong – 27 March 2011 (Hong Kong International Film Festival)

Israel – July 2011 (Jerusalem Film Festival)

Sweden – 13 September 2011

USA – limited release 21 September 2012

To see the trailer of Tears of Gaza: