Ambulance

Ambulance

Mohamed Jabaly | 
Norway |
 2016 | 
78 minutes

THIS SCREENING IS PART OF THE JUSTICE FORUM SERIES AND WILL INCLUDE A POST-FILM DISCUSSION.

In July of 2014, Israeli ground forces moved into Gaza in an escalation of the war with Hamas. Without preamble, Ambulance opens on a community in panic. A bomb has just fallen, turning the home of filmmaker Mohamed Jabaly’s neighbour into a pile of rubble. So begins a close-up view of war that barely gives us time to catch our breath, let alone consider the broader context. Sometimes film has no more vital function than to bear witness.

Ambulance is a visceral experience. Faced with an urgent moral crisis, Jabaly is compelled to help his people and document Israel’s “Operation Protective Edge” from the ground. Against the protests of his family, he joins an ambulance crew — speeding towards the worst of the devastation, even when every instinct is telling him to run the other way. With a handheld camera, he documents the terrifying aftermath of missile attacks, careening trips through the streets of Gaza, as the city literally falls around them, and the frantic efforts to save lives at hospitals that lack even the most basic equipment. The pragmatic courage and gallows humour of ambulance driver Abu Marzouq propels the film, taking Jabaly and his camera directly into danger, and giving us a view of war that is almost too close to the action.

Jabaly’s unflinching view of the chaos of war comments on the Israeli occupation and the conflict in Gaza, but ultimately its power is even more basic. Human vulnerability, courage, and resilience transcend politics and remind us exactly what is at stake when the technology of war meets the fragility of life. The resolve of those working amid the danger is humbling. In this ground-level view of the conflict, answers are hard to find, but the human crisis is undeniable. -JC

Justice Forum Panelist

Neil Naiman

Neil Naiman is a retired faculty member of York University in Toronto. There he was involved in a variety of social justice organizations, particularly opposing apartheid in South Africa. Since moving to Vancouver 12 years ago, he has been an active member and on the executive of Independent Jewish Voices Vancouver, part of a Canada-wide organization of socially conscious Jews, who sees themselves as part of international movement in solidarity with the Palestinian struggle for self-determination.

Justice Forum Panelist

Stephanie Taylor

Dr. Stephanie Taylor is an anaesthetist who currently works as a Clinical Associate in Intensive Care at Vancouver General Hospital. She has been on fifteen missions since joining MSF in 2010 including Haiti, Democratic Republic of Congo, Papua New Guinea, Pakistan, Central African Republic, Syria, South Sudan, Gaza, Liberia, Libya, Nepal and Yemen.

Justice Forum Panelist

Hanna Kawas

Hanna Kawas was born in Bethlehem, Palestine. He is a writer and activist and has spent all of his adult life working for Palestinian national and human rights, as well as supporting liberation movements all over the world. Hanna is the chairperson of Canada Palestine Association, which was established in 1980, and is the co-host of Voice of Palestine. He is also active with BDS Vancouver-Coast Salish.