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Air India 182 

Directed by Sturla Gunnarsson (CBC Home Video)

In theory, documentary reenactments exist to make stories lacking footage more vivid; in practice, they tend to be cheesy and distracting. (I still laugh at an E! True Hollywood Story that paired audio about a stormy night with nondescript footage of wet road and puddles, emblazoned with a "this is a reenactment" disclaimer.) But the reenactments in Air India 182---a documentary about the 1985 terrorist plane-bombing that claimed 270 lives of Canadians en route to India---are subtle and effective. That's because the moments director Sturla Gunnarsson chose to recreate are superficially mundane---the kind of pre-flight interactions that, under other circumstances, would have long been forgotten. We're shown an India-bound little girl clutching a box of chocolates, who one airport-worker remembers joking with, and the son who kept looking back at his mother as he moved to board the plane. Seeing them makes their tragedy feel immediate, which is important---as the doc points out, the Air India attack was mismanaged by the government (Brian Mulroney called the Indian prime minister with condolences, but failed to do the same for the mourning families of his own country) and CSIS, so it's nice to see the story treated with appropriate gravity and compassion.


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