No. 17

David Ofek. <i>Eden Productions. 76 minutes.</i>

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It starts with a suicide bomb, but this engrossing documentary has little to do with the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. No. 17 is a real-life mystery, filmmaker David Ofek’s attempt to identify the final victim of a bus that exploded on the outskirts of Tel Aviv.

The other 16 victims were quickly accounted for, but the body of “No. 17” had disintegrated beyond the ability of even forensic scientists to identify him. No family or friends reported him missing. And so, with only a few sketchy details to go on—the man had packed a tent in his luggage—and with no certainty that his investigation will produce No. 17’s name, Ofek uses the camera to collect evidence.

One survivor flashes his ticket and jokes darkly, “I wonder if the bus company will refund my money. The trip was not completed, after all.” An Israeli official in charge of processing unidentified bodies adds, more philosophically: “Sometimes we live anonymously and are buried anonymously.”

Perhaps, but one clue in this remarkable documentary proves essential—both to unraveling the mystery and to underscoring the film’s theme that even the most disregarded among us leave a trace: According to witnesses, No. 17’s most distinguishing feature was his smile.

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SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

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