Human Rights Watch Traveling Film Festival – Program 3: To See If I'm Smiling


9:00 pm - 10:30 pm

Event Type

From its inception, Human Rights Watch’s International Film Festival has embodied the power of film to make a difference. Courageous and committed filmmakers produce impressive documentary and feature films, which stimulate passionate conversations about human rights and inspire new generations of human rights activists. Through the universal language of film, we connect the experiences of survivors and activists with our own experiences—a critical step in influencing public opinion and policy makers.

Part of iEAR presents!, co-sponsored by the Arts Department at Rensselaer.


4-5:00pm Buffet Reception

5:00pm Youth Producing Change (80 minutes)

7:00pm A Promise to the Dead (92 minutes)

9:00pm To See If I’m Smiling (59 minutes)


Program 3: To See If I’m Smiling begins at 9pm and runs 59 minutes.

To See If I’m Smiling (New York premiere)
Tamar Yarom—Israel—2007—59m—video—
In Hebrew with English subtitles

Israel is the only country in the world where 18-year-old girls are drafted for compulsory military service. To See If I’m Smiling is a disturbing look at the actions and behavior of women soldiers in the Israeli army who, stationed in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank, help maintain the 40-year-old occupation of Palestinian territories. The women in the film, veterans who’ve tried to bury the past for years, finally speak openly about their experiences. Deeply personal interviews are dramatically interwoven with both archival footage and details of the women’s daily lives. One woman recounts how she posed for a photo with a Palestinian corpse. She searches for that picture, saying, “I wanted to see if I’m smiling.” At a time when women in the military are increasingly on the frontlines, this powerful film explores the ways that gender, ethics, and moral responsibility intersect during war.

Mickie Lynn, from Women Against War, will be introducing the film and leading a brief discussion immediately after the screening.