Screams Before Silence Is An Essential Documentary

Sheryl Sandberg in a BTS still from Screams Before Silence. Photo credit: Ran Mendelson. Courtesy of Kastina Communications.

Screams Before Silence gives witnesses and survivors an opportunity to come forward about their experiences of October 7, 2023.

“This is the most important work of my life and maybe everything I’ve done has led to this moment…I’ve spent a lot of time in my life advocating for women and it felt like this was a moment where we needed to be really honest and direct about what happened. Rape is never acceptable.” – Sheryl Sandberg

Every October 7 is different. While there is a trigger warning for discussions about sexual assault, this film does not contain any explicit images out of respect for both victims and their families. This isn’t to say that it is not heavy viewing on an emotional level. I personally had to pause my YouTube viewing three times and it runs just under an hour. But anyway, it takes something of a different approach than both #NOVA and Supernova. The former was all archival footage while the latter focuses exclusively on the film festival. This one features never-before-heard eyewitness accounts from released hostages, survivors, and first responders. This includes both the Nova Music Festival and the nearby kibbutzim. I cannot even begin to imagine what it must have been like for released hostages to go back home.

Screams Before Silence is a reminder of why Israel is defending itself against terrorism. It is a reminder of that Hamas terrorists assaulted, mutilated, and slaughtered women. I knew about some of this stuff but not all. Much has come out in recent months about Hamas sexually assaulting hostages. What we get here is a first-hand account from some of the released hostages. They go into detail about their experiences. But like the Holocaust, it’s still hard to discuss their experiences in captivity. There are numerous instances where Sandberg is comforting a survivor or witness. And yet, human rights groups or other leaders–including media and politics–seek to minimize it. The worst are the people denying it despite first-hand testimony! I mean, we even have Hamas footage from their GoPros and anti-Zionists will say it never happened. I just can’t even anymore.

When you hear descriptions from the volunteers retrieving bodies, you sink down in your seat. What they found…watch it for yourself. It’s not easy viewing but it is essential to bear witness. We must tell their stories because these women were forever silenced after being sexually assaulted by the Hamas monsters. What they did–it’s not human. It is beyond inhumane to describe what they did to the women. It doesn’t matter whether women were at home or the music festival.

In the days, weeks, and months since October 7, many have made the trip to visit Israel in order to bear witness. If they couldn’t bear witness, they did other things such as volunteering or just putting money back into the Israeli economy. For those unable to do so, this documentary allows one to bear witness to the worst atrocity against the Jewish people since the 1940s. Sandberg hopes that people watching the film take the pain and trauma and turn it into hope, commitment, and conviction that this never happens again. The nice thing about releasing the documentary on YouTube: anybody can watch it right now. It enables the documentary to be in front of as many eyes as possible.

Like previous October 7 documentaries, Screams Before Silence is essential viewing.

DIRECTOR: Anat Stalinsky
FEATURING: Sheryl Sandberg, Amit Soussana, Agam Goldstein Almog, Chen Goldstein Almog, Ayelet Levy Shachar, Tali Blinner, Raz Cohen, Rami Davidian, Elad Avraham, Fran Masas, Michal Ohana, Shoham Gueta, Simcha Greiniman, Haim Otmazgin, Shari Mandes, Ruth Halperin-Kaddari, Mirit Ben Mayor, Cochav Elkayam-Levy, Itai Pessach

Kastina Communications released Screams Before Silence on YouTube on April 25, 2024. Grade: 5/5

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Danielle Solzman

Danielle Solzman is native of Louisville, KY, and holds a BA in Public Relations from Northern Kentucky University and a MA in Media Communications from Webster University. She roots for her beloved Kentucky Wildcats, St. Louis Cardinals, Indianapolis Colts, and Boston Celtics. Living less than a mile away from Wrigley Field in Chicago, she is an active reader (sports/entertainment/history/biographies/select fiction) and involved with the Chicago improv scene. She also sees many movies and reviews them. She has previously written for Redbird Rants, Wildcat Blue Nation, and Hidden Remote/Flicksided. From April 2016 through May 2017, her film reviews can be found on Creators.