The Forward 50

Errol Morris

getty images

Culture

Errol Morris

The Forward 50

Errol Morris might just have a genetic predisposition to seek justice. After all, earlier this year, the Academy Award–winning documentary filmmaker and author, who became a bar mitzvah at the Conservative Congregation Sons of Israel in Woodmere, N.Y., revealed to the Forward that he is the great-grandson of a Talmud scholar.

Long before the term “truthiness” was coined, Morris, now 64, was blurring his audience’s sense of truth and certainty in such documentaries as “The Thin Blue Line” (1988), which helped to exonerate a death row prisoner, and “The Fog Of War” (2003), in which Morris pushed former Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara to question the assumptions on the basis of which the nVietnam war was waged.

This year found Morris, building on his remarkably successful writing for The New York Times, trying to win a new trial for Jeffrey MacDonald, who has spent most of his adult life in jail for the murder in 1970 of his pregnant wife and two daughters.

Morris’s medium this time is not film but prose, and he made this transition with remarkable skill in the book “A Wilderness of Error: The Trials of Jeffrey MacDonald.” Writing for the Forward, Pamela Cytrynbaum, executive director of the Chicago Innocence Project, declared the book to be “a vibrant addition to the ongoing Jewish ritual rumination on justice.”

Though the jury may be out on MacDonald, the verdict on Morris was established many years ago — he is one of our nation’s greatest truth tellers, even when he is making us question whether such a thing as truth exists at all. No doubt his great-grandfather would be proud.


The Jewish Daily Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Jewish Daily Forwardrequires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and The Jewish Daily Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.


Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.