Came for Bin Laden, found haredim

"Supersize me" film director nearly caused a riot in J'lem haredi district.

super-size me 63 (photo credit: )
super-size me 63
(photo credit: )
He may have subdued the Big Mac in his 2004 documentary Super Size Me. But American filmmaker Morgan Spurlock met his match when facing down Jerusalem haredim while attempting to track down arch terrorist Osama bin Laden in his new feature Where in the World is Osama bin Laden?, which premiered at the Sundance Film Festival in Utah last week. Filmed in part in Israel, the film follows Spurlock as he globe hops into several perceived danger spots in pursuit of information that will lead him to America's No. 1 wanted terrorist. On his self-described "journey of discovery," the filmmaker stops in Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Israel, Morocco, Jordan, Afghanistan and finally Pakistan. According to a report in the Guardian, in the segments filmed in Israel, Spurlock accompanies an Israel Police sapper team on a bomb-disposal assignment, and his cameras nearly cause a riot in an ultra-Orthodox neighborhood of Jerusalem, where he finds himself being pushed by an elderly haredi man who tells him to go home. In another scene, Spurlock arrives at the Gaza border, but doesn't enter the hot spot. When asked in an interview with The Washington Post why he stopped, he answered, "Oh, you can't get into Gaza. It would have been nice to go into Gaza and speak to some people there, but it would have been incredibly dangerous." "When we were at the Gaza border, the Israeli tanks were firing on Gaza, and from Gaza they were shooting Kassam rockets out. That was pretty harrowing. I don't think we hype the danger factor when they're firing Kassam rockets at a town a kilometer away. I think that's real violence," Spurlock told the Washington Post. The film, which received mixed reviews at Sundance, begins with Spurlock's voice-over raps about the need to find bin Laden, and footage of the filmmaker toning up in the gym, taking a course in Arabic and learning survival skills. Super Size Me won a huge audience with a down home, earthy but affable underdog taking on corporate giant MacDonald's. Where in the World is Osama bin Laden? follows a similar patter as Spurlock unassumingly interviews journalists, religious leaders and ordinary people across the Middle East. While the ending of the movie can be revealed (Spurlock didn't find bin Laden), Spurlock told the Guardian that digging up the villain wasn't really his goal. "I realized that finding this guy isn't the answer," said Spurlock. "I always wanted to learn what shaped him and his followers." He added that the movie showed how US foreign policy and socioeconomic forces in US-backed regimes created a hatred that certain factions could exploit. "I met so many people who want the same things for themselves and their families that we want. These moderate voices are not represented in the media. All we hear about are the extremists, the terrorists, because it's all about fear and scare tactics. I wanted to give these people a voice," he said.