dirs. Richard Rowley & Jacqueline Soohen | 76 minutes | 2003 | documentary
The Fourth World War takes viewers where the mainstream media cannot go. Shot on the frontlines of struggles spanning five continents, The Fourth World War is the untold human story of men and women who resist being annihilated in the current global conflict. While American airwaves are crowded with talk of a new world war, narrated by generals and filmed from the noses of bombs, the human face of war is rarely seen. The Fourth World War weaves together the images and voices of the war on the ground, from the front lines of struggles in Mexico, Argentina, South Africa, Palestine, Korea, ‘the North’ from Seattle to Genoa, and the ‘War on Terror’ in New York and Iraq.
The product of over two years of filming, The Fourth World War is a new kind of film for a new world. The intensity and immediacy of its images are beyond anything the mainstream media can shoot and the intimacy and passion of its stories are beyond anything it can feel. Directed and produced by the award winning New York-based Big Noise Films, and narrated by Tony Award winner Suheir Hammad and Singer Michael Franti of Spearhead, it is a radical story of hope and human connection in the face of a war that shatters and divides.
The immediacy and intensity of this footage does not come without its risks, however. Over the course of production Rowley and Soohen were clubbed and pepper-sprayed and their cameras were smashed in Genoa, Washington D.C., Geneva, and Quebec. They have been arrested in Italy, Baghdad, Israel, Geneva, and South Africa (where Soohen was quickly un-arrested by activists). Perhaps the most dramatic story from the film’s production came in May 2002, when Jacqueline Soohen was one of a group of ten activists who broke the 180-day Israeli siege on the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem, racing past the tanks and sniper towers with food and a video camera. She was the only camera inside the church and filmed dozens of hours of video while snipers pinned them down, using .50 caliber rounds and infrared scopes to shoot through doors. After two weeks inside the church, living off of lemon leaves and lamp oil, she was arrested by Israeli soldiers and imprisoned on a hunger strike for 14 more days. Her footage was seized by the Israeli Army who sold parts of it to an Israeli producer working for the BBC.
Praise for The Fourth World War:
“A powerful, radical cry from the frontlines of the war on people. This film captures the spirit of resistance: it is as beautiful and global as humanity itself.” – Naomi Klein, author of NO LOGO
“Inspirational. Essential. It documents the history of the future before it is born… and while we can still do something about it.” – POV Magazine
“A daring, courageous, heart-pounding intervention against empire.” – Patricia R. Zimmermann, author of States of Emergency