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Documentary about Jehovah’s Witnesses

The screening of the documentary about Jehovah’s Witnesses, “Knocking,” produced by Joel P. engardio and Tom Shepard was a standing room only event at the University of Boulder. It was part of the conference on “Fundamentalism and the Media.” The documentary is successful in expressing , in visual terms using nuanced close-ups, what the many academic papers talked about: fundamentalism has an integrity because it tries to protect vital truths about human life. But there are complex questions about the turns that such integrity takes, sometines into violence.
The JW were publicly beaten and imprisoned because of their stance against the US fighting in WW II. They suffered and died in German concentration camps (wearing purple triangles) because of their stance against the German fighting in thte war. “Knocking” tells these stories through the lives of two families. The drama is well constructed and it is obvious that the two producers/directors are seasoned journalists. The fact that they are gay makes their perspective all the more interesting, since they had to get very close to the Witness families they filmed and since the JW shun any member who is gay.
The documentary will air on PBS in early 2007 but you can buy the DVD now.

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