It’s difficult to know what exactly to make of Tears of Gaza .

It wants to be an indictment of war in general and also an indictment of a very specific war, the Gaza War of late December 2008 and early January 2009.

Tears of Gaza
is a one-sided view of an armed conflict, with an emphasis on the civilian toll in one of those groups. In that sense, it works well.

In particular, one scene in which a doctor identifies bullet holes in three dead children (two of whom look like they’re sleeping, albeit fitfully; the third, his eyes open, looks as if he’s been caught off guard) is so ghastly, it may be difficult to hold back a shriek. In another sense—telling a story—the movie fails entirely.

Of course, it’s possible the filmmakers don’t want to tell a story. Tears of Gaza is an angry film and it doesn’t pretend to be interested in the Israeli point of view.

But, at some point, the suffering, blood, shocking violence and sadness seems exploitive.

It’s a series of images strung together—shocking, brutal images—that does’t add up to much other than a series of shocking, brutal images. Maybe that’s enough.

CCA Cinematheque / NR / 82 min.