American Radical: The Trials of Norman Finkelstein

A devoted son of Holocaust survivors and ardent critic of Israeli foreign policy, the polarizing American political scientist and author Norman Finkelstein has been called a lunatic and self-hating Jew by some, and an inspirational revolutionary by others. Uncompromising even in the face of his denial of tenure at DePaul University, Finkelstein is revealed as a complex, politically isolated figure who puts the pursuit of justice above the security of his academic career. Exploring the difficult and deeply-felt issues at the heart of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, American Radical is the insightful and enraging documentary that follows Finkelstein around the world as he attempts to negotiate a powerful voice among his impassioned critics and supporters.

“For us, Norman Finkelstein is the consummate documentary subject: a complex firebrand, principled to the end, at the apex of some of the world’s longest conflicts. He rarely appears in mainstream media, yet always ends up in controversies. Finkelstein’s life is about focus, through a prism of his upbringing by Holocaust survivors. The dogged, relentless pursuit of his principles and foes can both inspire and repel. At once agitator, comedian, and merciless scholar, Finkelstein creates as many storms as he enters. Few will go where he does—a Jew deliberately walking into Hizbollah headquarters, into a Palestinian refugee camp, or into a room filled with those who vehemently oppose his views to speak his mind. When radicals collide, does it create more understanding? Some would argue that it does. Others would claim that Finkelstein’s principled but too often bitter advocacy does much to discredit the cause of a just resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Audiences can decide for themselves.” —directors David Ridgen & Nicolas Rossier


“American Radical is a powerful film — brave, bold, incendiary. I highly recommend it!”
– Michael Moore, award-winning documentary filmmaker

“American Radical is a nuanced and powerful portrait of the scholar Norman Finkelstien, one of the nation’s most courageous and embattled intellectuals.  It is a reminder that mendacity and timidity, when in the service of conventional beliefs, are more highly prized in most universities that truth.  It illustrates that those who unmask the lies of the intellectual elite swiftly become their victims.  The power and subtext of this film, however, is not in the wars fought between Finkelstien and those like Alan Dershowitz who seek to destroy him, but in Finkelstein’s powerful fealty to his mother’s suffering in the Warsaw Ghetto and later the Nazi death camps.  Finkelstein sees in all who are oppressed his mother’s degradation and pain.  This is a movie that is, at its core, about the unshakable bond of love between a parent and a true and faithful son who refuses to forget or compromise.”
—Chris Hedges, former New York Times War & Middle East Correspondent and author of “American Fascists”

“’American Radical: The Trials of Norman Finkelstein’ is a cautiously respectful documentary portrait of a political firebrand who presents himself as a beacon of moral truth in the murk of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.”
—Stephen Holden, New York Times

“Surprisingly entertaining…a compelling portrait of a difficult man.”
—Mark Cohen, The Jewish Daily Forward

“Presents a humanizing portrait of a complex and principled individual…‘American Radical’ deserves to be seen widely as a fascinating introduction to the man and his views.”
—Susan Ryan, Cineaste Magazine

“A fascinating, well-rounded portrait of Finkelstein that simultaneously informs, inspires and infuriates…the filmmakers ride a delicate line, assembling a warts-and-all portrait that shows why Finkelstein is deeply respected and equally reviled.”
—Mark Achbar, director of ’The Corporation’ and ’Manufacturing Consent: Noam Chomsky and the Media’

“With impressive restraint, the fascinatingly thorny ‘American Radical’ is less interested in the validity of Finkelstein’s ideas—seriously mounted, if inflammatory—and more in the topsy-turvy life of today’s professional academic. Amazingly, that choice doesn’t result in a boring movie.”
—Joshua Rothkopf, Time Out New York

“A guaranteed argument starter…an engaging portrait of an academic whose work is both fueled and undermined by his vitriolic personality.”
—J.R. Jones, Chicago Reader

“‘American Radical’…presents a more balanced portrait of Finkelstein, who, when his passion doesn’t carry him off on a wave of anger, is shown to be thoughtful, intelligent and deeply melancholy.”
—George Robinson, The Jewish Week

“(Norman Finkelstein’s) conclusions can be debated, his methods can be deplored, but as (‘American Radical’ directors) Ridgen and Rossier take pains to point out, a man so rigorously committed to putting an end to oppression ought not be so easily dismissed, even if coming to grips with such a challenging figure may be finally as difficult as getting to the bottom of the Arab-Israeli conflict itself.”
—Andrew Schenker, Slant Magazine

“A blood-boiling, very good documentary.”
—Mark Keizer, Boxoffice Magazine




AlJazeera English (International)
RT News (International)
PBS selected stations (US)
AlJazeera Arabic (Middle East)
Yes TV (Israel)
TBS Latina (Latin America)
Historia (Spain)
Canal 7 (Argentina)
Planete (Poland)
Press TV (International)
AlJazeera Turkey
AlJazeera Documentary Channel
Sky TV (NZ)

In Theaters

Typecast Releasing is pleased to announce that American Radical: The Trials of Norman Finkelstein, the new feature-length documentary film from directors David Ridgen (Mississippi Cold Case) and Nicolas Rossier (Aristide and the Endless Revolution), enjoyed a successful premiere and week-long run in NYC at Anthology Film Archives in February—with Norman Finkelstein and the directors in attendance at opening weekend screenings for Q&A. A full list of theaters where American Radical will be playing can be found here:

* February 11-17, 2010 . New York, NY at Anthology Film Archives
* March 8-11, 2010 . Seattle, WA at Northwest Film Forum
* March 12-18, 2010 . Los Angeles, CA at Laemmle Theatres
* March 23-30, 2010 . New Orleans, LA at Zeitgeist Multi-Disciplinary Arts Center
* March 28, 2010 . San Francisco, CA at Yerba Buena Center for the Arts
* April 15-16, 2010 . Columbus, OH at Wexner Center for the Arts
* April 23-29, 2010 . Montreal, QC at Cinema du Parc
* May 23-26, 2010 . Vancouver, BC at Pacific Cinematheque
* June 3, 2010 . San Francisco, CA at Roxie Theater
* August 8-12, 2010 . Saskatoon, SK at the Broadway Theatre
* November 11, 2010 . Philadelphia, PA at International House

At Festivals

Audience Choice Award
Chicago Underground FF

*September 2009 . Chicago Underground Film Festival . Chicago, IL. USA
*September 2009 . DocuDays: Beirut International Film Festival . Beirut . LEBANON
*October 2009 . North of Nowhere Expo . Edmonton, AB . CANADA
*October 2009 . Boston Palestine Film Festival . Boston, MA. USA
*October 2009 . Carleton Cinema Politica . Ottawa, ON . CANADA
*November 2009 . Sheffield International Documentary Festival . Sheffield . ENGLAND
*November 2009 . Copenhagen International Documentary Festival . Copenhagen . DENMARK
*November 2009 . International Documentary Festival of Amsterdam . Amsterdam . THE NETHERLANDS
*November 2009 . Rencontres Internationales du Documentaire de Montreal . Montreal, QC . CANADA
*December 2009 . Jerusalem Jewish Film Festival . Jerusalem . ISRAEL
*January 2010 . Argus Film Festival . Denver, CO . USA
*January 2010 . Atlanta Jewish Film Festival . Atlanta, GA . USA
*March 2010 . KinoTeatr.doc Film Festival . Moscow . RUSSIA
*March 2010 . New Orleans International Human Rights Film Festival . New Orleans, LA . USA
*April 2010 . Buenos Aires Festival Internacional de Cine . Buenos Aires . ARGENTINA
*April 2010 . Frontline Film Screenings . London . ENGLAND
*April 2010 . It’s All True Documentary Film Festival . Sao Paolo & Rio de Janeiro . BRAZIL
*April 2010 . Chicago Palestine Film Festival . Chicago, IL . USA
*May 2010 . Hot Docs Film Festival . Toronto, ON . CANADA
*May 2010 . DOXA Documentary Film Festival . Vancouver, BC . CANADA
*May 2010 . Planete Doc Review Film Festival . Warsaw . POLAND
*June 2010 . Biografilm Festival . Bologna . ITALY
*June 2010 . Documentarist Film Festival . Istanbul . TURKEY
*July 27-August 1, 2010 . Traverse City Film Festival . Traverse City, MI . USA
*September 10-19, 2010 . Milano Film Festival . Milan . ITALY
*October 1-21, 2010 . Tri-Continental Film Festival . Johannesburg . SOUTH AFRICA
*October 20-27, 2010 . Bergen International Film Festival . Bergen . NORWAY
*November 8-12, 2010 . Iran International Documentary Film Festival . Tehran . IRAN
*November 23-28, 2010 . Warsaw Jewish Film Festival . Warsaw . POLAND
*January 2011 . Courrier International/Mk2 Night . Paris . France
*February 2011 . Documentary Edge Film Festival . Auckland . New Zealand
*April 2011London Palestinian Film Festival . London . UK
*May 2011Cinema Politica . Paris . France



Review: Finkelstein’s transformation to victim hero in “American Radical” – Electronic Intifada

Prof. Finkelstein talks about American Radical on Democracy Now!

Interested in the work of Prof. Finkelstein? Take a look at “This Time We Went Too Far,” his newest book at the ORBooks website.

“Better than any other book, ‘This Time We Went Too Far’ shows how the massive destruction visited on Gaza was not an accidental byproduct of the Israeli invasion but its barely concealed objective.” — Raja Shehadeh, author, Palestinian Walks

On Demand

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