InfoAdvocate is a film about Israeli human-rights lawyer Lea Tsemel as she tirelessly navigates through Israel’s judicial system defending Palestinian prisoners she feels are innocent and guilty prisoners facing far too excessive prison sentences.The film also shows the impact this indefatigable worker has on her family, her husband Michel and her daughter and son. Tsemel’s main thrust is that Israel’s judicial system is unfairly stacked against Palestinians. For doing her job, Tsemel is denounced as a traitor and an evil defender of Israel’s enemies. For these reasons the film was initially banned by many theaters in Israel. Tsemel didn’t win most of her cases, but she did say in an exasperating moment that “For us, a victory can often be one year deducted from a five-year sentence.”
Why Stream This Film?
- Rotten Tomatoes Score (Critics Consensus): 100%
- Metacritic Score: 77
Academy Awards: Shortlisted, Best Documentary Film
Hong Kong International Film Festival: Winner, Best Documentary
UK Jewish Film Festival: Winner, Best Documentary
Palm Springs International Film Festival: Bridging the Borders Award
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This portrait of Israeli human rights lawyer Lea Tsemel gets absorbingly up close and personal. ADVOCATE, though, isn’t interested in litigating the apparently limitless divisions between Israel and Palestine so much as it is in portraying Tsemel’s tireless routine, in the process demonstrating how one lives morally and ethically within a morass.
Lea Tsemel has ben called a rebel with a lost cause and a whole lot worse. But as the intimate, powerful ADVOCATE demonstrates, she lives up to the film’s title in the purest sense of the word: She stands up for people. It’s who she stands up for that causes all the controversy.
ADVOCATE is a compelling, political measured portrait of fearless Israeli human rights lawyer Lea Tsemel. At best, Tsemel’s job is thankless: a stone in the shoe of the judicial system, pushing for fair treatment of her oft-demonized clients. At worst, she is vilified by her fellow Israelis.
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