Reviewed by: Chris

Eschewing sensationalism, Checkpoint is a film that simply provides a fly on the wall account of various checkpoints on the Palestine-Israel border. Miles from anywhere, people travel frequently, walking long distances, to go to hospitals or to work. The Israeli guards like to 'show them' and routinely harass them by making them stand in the blazing sun, driving rain, or deep snow for long periods of time (e.g. up to ten hours) before returning their papers and often sending them home. They are polite, but admit to the cameras that this is how they deal with people - force them to stand in the rain.

This could almost be a laid back Palestinian expose of what is happening at the checkpoints except - and here is the double-whammy - it is made by an Israeli, with Israeli funding - and it has been snapped up and promoted by the Israelis in cinemas but also by the Palestinians. What is perhaps even more shocking (according to the director at the Edinburgh International Film Festival) is that it is now being used by the Israeli forces as training material for their guards. The filmmaker has certainly got his message across to a wide audience.

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When I asked director Yoav Shamir what his next project would be, he replied that he is making a film about anti-Semitism and its backlash now the Jews have 'power'. An intelligent and politically sensitive man, he leaves one wondering how his country ever got into such a mess.

Reviewed on: 07 Apr 2008
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Checkpoint packshot
A documentary about checkpoints between Israel and Palestine.
Amazon link

Director: Yoav Shamir

Year: 2003

Runtime: 80 minutes

Country: Israel


EIFF 2004

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