Hot House

90mins | 2008 | DocumentaryPG13

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In a candid and unflinching portrait of Palestinian prisoners, Shimon Dotan takes viewers inside the HOT HOUSE, the highest security prisons in Israel. Thousands of Palestinians fill these detention facilities because of their involvement in suicide bombings and alleged questionable political activities. Filmed on location in both men's and women's prisons, HOT HOUSE questions whether these facilities are quelling violence or bolstering the Palestinian cause. Personal interviews with detainees and prison guards reveal the latter. Imprisonment affords the Palestinians the chance to broaden their ideological and political education. Because of these opportunities, young prisoners with very little formal education often become some of the more articulate champions of Palestinian nationalism. The prisons have also nurtured an intricate communication network among the various cell blocks, which are grouped by political affiliation. Some of the more chilling moments in HOT HOUSE are when inmates state why they are incarcerated and what they plan to do after they are released. Several of the male and female prisoners show no remorse for planning and implementing suicide bombings that killed the most innocent of civilians - small children. Overall, Dotan's provocative account shows how Israeli prisons function as a significant training ground for future Palestinian leaders. The film is an excellent resource for teachers of politics and criminal justice.

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