NOBLE SACRIFICE explores the nexus between mourning and militancy as expressed in the annual Shiite observance of Ashura. Participants in the procession engage in self-flagellation, bloodletting and other forms of self-inflicted torture to express the depth of mourning for the martyrdom of Shiite leader Imam Hussein in 680 AD. The history of the Imam related by preachers to crowds of lamenting worshippers is that of a just person suffering at the hands of heartless oppressors. In the contemporary context of war and occupation in south Lebanon, Ashura has been interpreted as an allegorical reflection of the present. Since Israel first occupied south Lebanon in 1978 and even after its withdrawal in May 2000, the spirit of self-sacrifice as embodied in Ashura has been transformed by circumstantial adversities to become a military tactic commonly referred to in the West as suicide bombing, locally recognized as martyrdom operations.
"With its harrowing images and tense, jittery editing, Noble Sacrifice recalls the political urgency of work by...Sergei Eisenstein"
- The Independent
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