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No Fire Zone: The Killing Fields of Sri Lanka: An utterly convincing doc

3 out of 4 stars

Title
No Fire Zone: The Killing Fields of Sri Lanka
Directed by
Callum Macrae
Genre
Documentary
Classification
18A
Country
USA
Language
English

As advocacy documentaries go, this chronicle of war crimes conducted by the Sri Lankan government against Tamil civilians during the 2009 conclusion of the Asian country's 26-year-long civil war, is utterly convincing, and a refutation of Sri Lankan government denials.

Composed largely of cellphone and video images culled from Tamil civilians and trophy videos from government soldiers, the film is damning both of the largely Sinhalese government's ethnic assaults against its Tamil minority population, and the United Nations, which failed to stop or report the attacks, leading to the deaths of between 40,000 and 70,000 people (according to UN reports) in the final five months of the campaign.

Much of the footage is extremely gruesome, with the purpose of getting the crimes recognized and perpetrators prosecuted, though the TV news voice-over can seem jarringly artless. Sometimes, it's important to know when words fail.

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At the Bloor Hot Docs Cinema.

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