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This Australian film attempts to find the real truth behind the “non fiction” book, Norma Khouri’s Forbidden Love, the tale of an Honour Killing in
Norma does not come out looking the best. Her willingness to cooperate with the documentary makers does not extend to providing them with full disclosure of the identity of the murdered Dalia, thus making proving the existence of her friend impossible. Her inaccuracies in the descriptions of life in Jordan and her own life are dismissed as “artistic license”, with the truth of the death of her friend and of Honour Killings themselves the only real purpose for the book.
The motives of some of Norma’s critics themselves were not really given the same scrutiny. And, first and foremost, this was an Australian film, with the work and research of Jordanians and Americans taking a very second fiddle to the discoveries made by Ockers. The use of re-creations and “amusing” graphics to illustrate particular points or issues discussed actually cheapened the integrity of the film itself, with true humour and wry laughter from the audience I was with coming really from some of the more ironic or revealing scenes. Similarly, some sources were presented as “secret’ (such as Norma’s video confessions of not providing Dalia’s real identity and her possible love affair with her “body guard”), but how the film makers got access to this video, or if they ever really identified the body guard as a ‘”real” one or a fake were never gone into, thus leaving credibility holes in their material.
However, despite its flaws, the documentary, the issues discussed and the participants themselves were all fascinating. There is nothing quite so fascinating as trying to discover the motivations and truths behind what people tell us. A tangled web indeed, but wherein lies the real truth?
Verdict: Besides the unnecessary tricks, a fascinating insight into the world of the truth and those who profit from bending it just a little. 7 novels out of 10.