Garden Cinemas to hold Q&A with Ashfield attorney after ‘The Mauritanian’ showing



  • Owner Isaac Mass behind the ticket counter at the Greenfield Garden Cinemas. STAFF FILE PHOTO/DAN LITTLE

  • The Garden Cinemas on Main Street in Greenfield. Staff File Photo/Paul Franz

Staff Writer
Published: 3/25/2021 2:49:02 PM

GREENFIELD — The Garden Cinemas’ reopening weekend will include a question and answer session with Stewart “Buz” Eisenberg, a lawyer from Ashfield who has represented Guantanamo Bay detainees, after the 3 p.m. showing of “The Mauritanian” on Saturday.

“The Mauritanian,” starring Benedict Cumberbatch, Jodie Foster, Shailene Woodley and Tahar Rahim, is the story of Mohamedou Ould Slahi, a Mauritanian man detained at the Guantanamo Bay detention camp without charge from 2002 until October 2016. A Mauritanian is a citizen of Mauritania, a country in northwestern Africa.

Eisenberg, affiliated with the Northampton law firm of Weinberg & Garber P.C., represented eight Guantanamo Bay detainees over 12 years.

“I think the damage that has been, and continues to be done, to the rule of law is important to recognize,” Eisenberg said. “We, tragically, have entered a post-Constitutional era of American history.”

The United States believed Slahi was involved with the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, though he was not. He was represented by Eisenberg’s friend and colleague, attorney Nancy Hollander, who recorded a special message on about Saturday’s event. Hollander is portrayed in the movie by Foster, who won a 2021 Golden Globe award for best supporting actress in a motion picture.

Eisenberg, who has practiced law for 41 years, said his clients were determined to be innocent and released from Guantanamo Bay. He mentioned one client, an Algerian man, was kept in isolation for seven years, seeing only the guard who supplied him with food. The detention center is on soil Cuba leases to the United States. Eisenberg said 779 prisoners passed through the gates at “Gitmo,” and all but 40 have been released or transferred. According to The New York Times, nine detainees died in custody.

Eisenberg cited the Sixth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which states that anyone accused of a crime has the right to a speedy and public trial by an impartial jury, and the right to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation. He said this applies to anyone in American custody.

“We can’t go around the world and kidnap people,” he said. “That’s not who we are. That’s what we’ve become. We allow it to persist. We don’t do anything about it.”

Eisenberg said he hopes locals come out to see an important film.

“It’s not just about Guantanamo, it’s about the rule of law,” he said of “The Mauritanian.” “It’s about all the insults it has suffered in the last 20 years, since 9/11.”

Isaac Mass, himself a criminal defense attorney, owns the Garden Cinemas with his wife, Angela.

“We are always looking for movies at the Garden that are thought-provoking and will elicit people being able to have conversations about current events,” Mass said. “I always knew the story of ‘The Mauritanian,’ and I follow Buz’s Guantanamo work, and I thought there are people who are interested in both the movie and talking to Buz.”

Tickets for the matinee event on Saturday are $6.50 and are available on the theater’s website. “The Mauritanian” is set to play at the Garden Cinemas through April 8.

Reach Domenic Poli at: or 413-772-0261, ext. 262.


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